Sun, Apr 03, 2016 - Page 6 News List

Xinhua declares April Fools to be no laughing matter

AFP, BEIJING

April Fools’ Day is no laughing matter, China’s official news service said on Friday, bashing the Western tradition of opening spring with a gag as un-Chinese.

The official news agency Xinhua’s stiffly worded post on its micro-blog account said: “Today [Friday] is the West’s so-called ‘April Fools.’”

The occasion “does not conform with our nation’s cultural traditions, nor does it conform with the core values of socialism,” it added.

“Don’t believe rumors, don’t create rumors and don’t spread rumors,” it said, capping off the note with a smiley emoticon.

The latter two activities are illegal under Chinese law.

However, the country’s Internet users met the reminder with a collective guffaw, suggesting that in China, every day is April Fools.

“You speak lies every day, use government policy, data, to trick the people in every way,” one Weibo commenter said.

“What’s up, what’s down? What’s wrong? What’s right? We’re on to you,” the commenter said.

Other users likened the post to the satirical American news Web site The Onion.

“The most amusing ‘April Fools’ news is that Xinhua is seriously saying ‘don’t believe rumors,’” one person said.

Even the Global Times, a paper closely tied to the Chinese Communist Party, seemed to suggest Xinhua needed to loosen up.

“How many friends have you fooled today?” it asked on Twitter — which is not accessible in China. “Here are some pranks for #Aprilfools.”

However, Xinhua did not see the funny side. There were 36 replies to its original Weibo post, none of which were visible after comments were blocked.

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