Chen Guangbiao, a Chinese businessman who is on the list of China’s 400 richest people, said on Monday that he intends to buy The New York Times and to ‘reform’ it, in order to rebuild “its credibility and influence”.
“I intend to buy The New York Times, please do not take it as a joke,” the Chinese tycoon, who is famous in China for his publicity stunts, said.
“The tradition and style of The New York Times make it very difficult to have objective coverage of China,” Chen wrote.
“If we could purchase it, its tone might turn around. Therefore I have been involved in discussing acquisition-related matters with like-minded investors.”
The New York Times has published several award-winning reports on China, including a 2012 investigation into the family wealth of then-premier Wen Jiabao. The investigation won a Pulitzer Prize.
However, since then the paper’s website has been blocked in China and several of its reporters have had difficulty obtaining visas, as the Chinese state and media often understand foreign criticism of the Communist Party, which is in power in China, as an attack on the country itself, according to the international press.
Chen added that if he succeeds to buy the paper, he “will conduct some necessary reforms, the ultimate goal of which is to make the paper’s reports more authentic and objective, thus rebuilding its credibility and influence”.
However, a The New York Times spokeswoman said last week that the company had “no information” about any negotiations with Chen.