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Chinese Netizens React: People’s Daily Fooled by The Onion

It’s all over the news now: Chinese newspaper People’s Daily made a fool of itself this week when it seriously reported that the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was named Sexiest Man Alive by The Onion, a satire newspaper from the United States. Since it went online, international media such as The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal all picked up the news. The Telegraph in the United Kingdom followed up with an editor from People’s Daily, and quoted him saying, he hoped the incident would not draw too much attention (the story has since been taken down).

It seems too late already, the news not only spread far and wide in international media, but also went viral on Weibo, China’s Twitter. When an active netizen “Pretend in NY” first shared the news on Weibo, it triggered over 40,000 reposts and 7,900 comments.

Netizen “Pretend in NY” shared foreign media's comments on Chinese social media

Many Chinese had a good laugh about it. Some felt shameful and criticized the government; still some got really angry and questioned the intentions of foreign media.

A Dash of Humor and Satire 

OnionWeekly wrote sarcastically:

洋葱周刊:深夜获悉人民日报和洋葱新闻进行了业务交流,并获得得了洋葱新闻的高度赞赏,我们略感欣慰地表示,洋葱周刊和人民日报代表着中国最真实的声音。

Late in the evening, we learned that The Onion and People’s Daily had been communicating on an official level, and People’s Daily has received high praise from The Onion. We are pleased to announce that The Onion Weekly and the People’s Daily represent the most authentic voice of China.

Talking about work at the library echoed:

中传戏剧戏曲所暨图书馆覅谈工作:人民网原以为自己是天下第一大忽悠,哪想到,天外有天,山外有山,楼外有楼,强中还有强中手。这次,除了默默地删除以外,没有说别的。

People’s Daily thought themselves the best parody site, yet they didn’t realize there’s always competition. This time they had nothing to say but to delete it in silence.

Veteran journalist and researcher Xu Shenghai commented:

余胜海: 中朝两国只会相互吹捧,去年朝鲜媒体竟然说中国是世界上最民主最幸福的国家,美国是最不民主最不幸福的国家,真搞笑!

Chinese and North Korean like to kiss ass with each other, last year North Korea even said China is the most democratic country in the world and America is the least democratic country, which is ridiculous!

gdaygluck made a funny joke:

gdaygluck:人民网的编辑们成天认真学习党的精神,哪有时间了解洋葱、土豆什么的除了吃还能干些啥。

The editors at People’s Daily are too busy studying the Party spirit everyday, how do they have time to know that what onions or potatoes are about except to eat them.

Nobody Reads People's Daily? 

Liang Weihao, editor at Central Broadcasting Station wrote:

梁卫浩: 全世界媒体都被嘲笑了,他们竟以为中国网民会相信人民网。

All foreign media are to be laughed at, because they even think we Chinese read People’s Daily.

Xunxi’s sheep dad echoed:

淳溪家的羊爸爸:人民日报想增加曝光度,平时大家都不看。

People’s Daily just wanted more attention, because usually nobody reads them.

Voices of Criticism 

News Lecturer Yi Qiliang commented:

易前良:把恶搞当新闻,这是无知,无知其实还是可以原谅的,人民网通过不断学习,开拓视野还是可以补上这一课的。金恩这副权力膨胀起来的皮囊,要说性感,那是对性感的侮辱,人民网编辑莫非真没有美感?以丑为美,这种赤裸裸的权力崇拜才让人吐吐。

This is an innocent mistake, which can be forgiven because People’s Daily can learn more by broadening its view, however, Kim Jong-un is a power maniac, it’s an insult to beauty to even think of him as sexy, don’t editors at People’s Daily have a sense of what beauty is? It’s disgusting to think that they adore naked power.

Taorock No 2 was upset:

taorock二号:看看,党报犯了贱,人国外媒体就取笑中国人傻,人民日报和中国人民有啥关系啊,中国人民这都背黑锅背了多少年了。

Look, the party paper made a mistake, international media are making fun of us Chinese. What does People’s Daily have anything to do with us average citizens? We Chinese have to deal with so much shit on behalf of the Party for so many years.

 Between Light & Dark criticized:

黑暗与光明之间: 可见中国官媒的固步自封到了什么程度.

You can see just how complacent the official Chinese media have become.

A Sense of Nationalism 

 Xu Jinbo, Asia News agency chief was obviously angry:

徐静波微博:日本媒体很恶毒,人民网就发了一篇金正恩被评为「最佳美男子」的消息,这些电视报纸连番攻击,矛头直指党报。人民日报应该游说中央有关部门,坚决封杀这些反动媒体,不让他们参加重要记者会!

Japanese media are evil, People’s Daily just reported the news about Kim Jong-un as “most good-looking man,” and these TV stations and newspapers keep attacking us, they point their fingers directly at the Party newspaper. People's Daily should persuade central authorities to block these reactionary media and forbid them to attend important press conferences!

Democratic Rice retorted:

民主米粒:为什么要封杀?因为日本做出了批评就要这么做么?难道这就是中国的一惯做法?这件事情首先是,人民日报作为拥有权威性的媒体机构,在对新闻审评如此的不谨慎,闹出如此荒唐的笑话,本就应该作出检讨。苍蝇叮不了无缝的蛋,一个所谓的大国,不要总是这么没气量。

Why ban them? Because it is criticism from Japan? Is this is a customary practice in China? People's Daily, as an authoritative media source made this absurd mistake, they should reflect on their mistakes. Flies don’t bite seamless eggs; a so-called big country should accept criticism.

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