Sunday, 28 October 2012

Paper Tiger Threats

This afternoon I went to the supermarket to pick up a few things for dinner.

It was 5pm so everyone else was in the store as well and there was a massive line at the cashier.

Behind me was a mainland Chinese woman with her earphones on, talking in Putonghua to someone on the phone.

She was talking about The New York Times story and bits and pieces of information in the article, how Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's mother had investments in Ping An Insurance and how his son set up many companies, his wife gained handsomely from her foothold in the jewellery industry.

So many people are talking about it and now Wen's family has hit out against the newspaper with a letter from two lawyers saying the story was "untrue".

In a rare statement from Chinese leaders, the letter written by Bai Tao and Wang Weidong was published in the South China Morning Post today.

It first claims that "the so-called 'hidden riches' of Wen Jiabao's family members in The New York Times' report does not exist", and that the premier's mother has never owned any property or income other than her pension. However reporter David Barboza did find her name and her ID card number as an investor in Ping An Insurance and her investments were worth $120 million in 2007.

The letter also says that Wen played no part in any of the family members' business dealings and that these were their own activities. The New York Times story does not refute this at all and many times clearly states there was no evidence to prove Wen had any direct hand nor was his name found in any of the public records Barboza sifted through.

The lawyers also say none of the family members engaged in illegal business activities and the article does not say they are.

While the letter ends with a threat of following up with legal action, there isn't much they can do as all the information gathered was publicly available, and the NYT continues to stand by its story.

I believe the score is now 2-0 for the NYT...

No comments:

Post a Comment