China dismisses NYT's Pulitzer-winning report on Wen

Foreign ministry claims reporter had ulterior motives

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 16 April, 2013, 4:58pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 17 April, 2013, 1:00am

China dismissed a New York Times report that exposed the wealth amassed by the family of former Premier Wen Jiabao as having “ulterior motives” on Tuesday, after it won a Pulitzer Prize.

The story, which was published in October last year, alleged close relatives of Wen have made billions of dollars in business dealings.

It provoked anger from authorities in China, who said it was part of a “smear” by “voices” opposed to the country’s development. The Times’ Chinese and English websites were subsequently blocked in China and remain inaccessible.

“Our position towards this issue is very clear. We believe the relevant report by the New York Times reporter is with ulterior motives,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a regular press briefing on Tuesday.

The Time’s Shanghai bureau chief David Barboza, who wrote the story, told AFP that he was “honoured” after the report won the award for international reporting.

The Pulitzer jury on Monday called it a “striking exposure”.

The newspaper won four awards in the 97th annual Pulitzer Prizes, awarded by Columbia University in New York. The most prestigious prizes in US journalism, the awards can bring badly needed attention to newspapers and websites competing for readers in a fragmented media industry, where many are suffering from budget constraints.

The Pulitzer board on Monday noted that David Barboza’s reporting was accomplished “in the face of heavy pressure” from Chinese officials.

Two reporters for The New York Times, David Barstow and Alejandra Xanic von Bertrab, won the Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting for their reports on how Wal-Mart used widespread bribery to dominate the market in Mexico. Their reporting resulted in changes in company practices, it said.

The staff of The New York Times won the Pulitzer Prize for explanatory journalism for its coverage of business practices by Apple and other technology companies that “illustrates the darker side of a changing global economy for workers and consumers”, it said.

John Branch of The New York Times won the Pulitzer Prize for feature writing for his “evocative narrative” about skiers killed in an avalanche, it said.



  • Public Service: Sun Sentinel, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
  • Breaking News Reporting: The Denver Post staff
  • Investigative Reporting: David Barstow and Alejandra Xanic von Bertrab of The New York Times
  • Explanatory Reporting: The New York Times staff
  • Local Reporting: Brad Schrade, Jeremy Olson and Glenn Howatt of the Star Tribune, Minneapolis
  • National Reporting: Lisa Song, Elizabeth McGowan and David Hasemyer of InsideClimate News, Brooklyn, NY
  • International Reporting: David Barboza of The New York Times
  • Feature Writing: John Branch of The New York Times
  • Commentary: Bret Stephens of The Wall Street Journal
  • Criticism: Philip Kennicott of The Washington Post
  • Editorial Writing: Tim Nickens and Daniel Ruth of the Tampa Bay Times, Saint Petersburg, Florida
  • Editorial Cartooning: Steve Sack of the Star Tribune, Minneapolis
  • Breaking News Photography: Rodrigo Abd, Manu Brabo, Narciso Contreras, Khalil Hamra and Muhammed Muheisen of The Associated Press
  • Feature Photography: Javier Manzano, freelance photographer, Agence France-Presse

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