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Chinese April Fool's Day Hoaxes
Mao Tse-tung Blasts Stalin. (1956)
The English-language China News revealed that its monitors had heard Peiping Radio (official propaganda organ of Red China) quote Mao Tse-tung referring to Stalin as a "slavedriver, murderer, and doublecrosser." Two Chinese-language papers, the Central Daily News and the Hsin Sheng Pao (mouthpiece of the Formosa provincial government) both subsequently ran the story on their front pages, not realizing that tbe report was intended as a joke "in line with the spirit of April Fools' Day," as The China News later explained. More…
Hong Kong Powdered Water. (1982)
The South China Morning Post announced that a solution to Hong Kong’s water shortage was at hand. First, scientists had found a way to drain the clouds surrounding the island’s peak of their water by electrifying them via antennae erected on the peak. The paper warned that this might have a negative impact on surrounding property values, but the government had approved the project nevetheless. Second, more clouds could be attracted to the region by means of a weather satellite positioned over India. And finally, packets of powdered water imported from China would be distributed to all the residents of Hong Kong. A single pint of water added to this powdered water would magically transform into ten pints of drinkable water. Hong Kong’s radio shows were flooded with calls from people eager to discuss these solutions to the water shortage. Many of the calls were supportive of the plans, but one woman pointed out that the pumps needed to supply powdered water would be More…

PhDs Exempt From China’s One-Child Policy. (1993)
The China Youth Daily, an official state newspaper of China, announced on its front page that the government had decided to make Ph.D. holders exempt from the state-imposed one-child limit. The logic behind this decision was that it would eventually reduce the need to invite as many foreign experts into the country to help with the state's modernization effort. Despite a disclaimer beneath the story identifying it as a joke, the report was repeated as fact by Hong Kong's New Evening News and by Agence France-Presse, an international news agency. What made the hoax seem credible to many was that intellectuals in Singapore were encouraged to marry each other and have children, and China's leaders were known to have great respect for the Singapore system. The Chinese government responded to the hoax by condemning April Fool's Day as a dangerous Western tradition. The Guangming Daily, Beijing's main newspaper for intellectuals, ran an editorial stating that April Fool's jokes "are an More…

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