BEIJING -- China blocked access to The New York Times website Friday after the paper published a lengthy article claiming the family of Premier Wen Jiabao has amassed assets worth $2.7 billion through a web of investments.

The report said most of Wen's family's wealth was accumulated after he rose to high office in 2002.

Chinese censors also blocked the Times' Chinese-language site that carried a translated version of the story.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told reporters at a press briefing that the report "blackens China and has ulterior motives." He refused to elaborate despite several follow-up questions.

Times' spokeswoman Eileen Murphy says the paper hoped access to the sites could be restored shortly.

While Wen is expected to leave his post in the spring, the report is a blow to his reputation as a politician concerned with bettering the lives of ordinary Chinese.

Also on HuffPost:

Loading Slideshow...
  • Jill Abramson, executive editor

    Getty

  • Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr., publisher

  • Mark Thompson, CEO

  • Dean Baquet, managing editor

  • David Leonhardt, Washington bureau chief

  • Bill Keller, columnist and former executive editor

  • Andrew Rosenthal, editorial page editor

  • Paul Krugman, columnist

  • Thomas Friedman, columnist

  • Maureen Dowd, columnist

  • James Risen, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter

  • David Brooks, columnist

  • Gail Collins (center), columnist

  • Frank Bruni, columnist

    Getty

  • Nicholas Kristof, columnist

    Getty

  • Charles Blow, columnist

  • Joe Nocera, columnist

  • Bill Cunningham, fashion photographer

  • Cathy Horyn, fashion critic

  • Mark Bittman, food columnist

  • Leah Finnegan, news assistant, Op-Ed/Sunday Review