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China: Wen Jiabao's family refutes NY Times article on amassed wealth

China: Wen Jiabao's family refutes NY Times article on amassed wealth

Attorneys represented the family of Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao issued a statement Sunday, refuting a report published by the New York Times last Friday about wealth amassed by Wen's family and suggesting they may take legal action.

The statement was published in the South China Morning Post and the Sing Tao Daily, two newspapers in Hong Kong, on Sunday.

In the statement, Bai Tao of the Gu He Law Offices and Wang Weisong of the Grandall Law Firm said “the so-called ‘hidden riches’ of Wen Jiabao’s family members in the New York Times’ report does not exist.”

“The mother of Wen Jiabao, except receiving salary/pension according to the regulation, has never had any income or property,” they added.

The Times story, citing corporate and regulatory records, said Wen’s 90-year-old mother, Yang Zhiyun, had an investment in her name in a large Chinese financial services company that had a value of $120 million five years ago.

“We will continue to make clarifications regarding untrue reports by The New York Times, and reserve the right to hold it legally responsible,” the statement said.

The New York Times said it was standing by its story. Eileen Murphy, a spokeswoman for The Times, expressed confidence in the article.

“We are standing by our story, which we are incredibly proud of and which is an example of the quality investigative journalism The Times is known for,” she said, according to the New York Times.

The report was published at a sensitive time for Chinese leaders as they are preparing to begin a once-a-decade transition of power at the 18th Communist Party Congress, starting on Nov. 8.

Updated : 2021-04-23 11:25 GMT+08:00