Chinese Internet users yesterday mocked state media for mistakenly reporting that Istanbul would host the 2020 Olympic Games, the latest in a series of gaffes by the government-backed press.
Xinhua news agency reported that Istanbul had won, the bid while state television ran a headline during a live broadcast which said: “Tokyo eliminated.”
Tokyo was the eventual winner. Both reports were later withdrawn, but continued to circulate in Internet postings.
“They made fools of themselves,” Yan Tao said on microblogging service Sina Weibo.
Xinhua apparently mistook a vote by International Olympic Committee members to decide whether Istanbul or Madrid would advance in the voting after a first-round tie, which the Turkish city won.
“Liars must be held accountable, otherwise it’s not fair,” said another user going by the name McMonkey, referring to an ongoing government crackdown on people who spread rum ours on the Internet.
In another case, the People’s Daily newspaper last year reported North Korean leader Kim Jong-un had been named “Sexiest Man Alive” after treating a spoof award by satirical US Web site “The Onion” as genuine.
However, some of the online comments had an anti-Japanese tone, reflecting the two territorial dispute between Tokyo and Beijing.
“It’s an international joke to let this country host the Olympics,” one blogger named Kid Green said. “Hope they can settle the matter of the Diaoyu Islands [釣魚] and ‘comfort women,’ admit the [Nanjing] massacre and face history.”
Taipei, Beijing and Tokyo all claim the islands, which lie in the East China Sea and are called the Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台) by Taiwan and the Senkakus by Japan, which administers them.