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Chinese Media Bungles Syria Photo Selection

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China Power

Chinese Media Bungles Syria Photo Selection

A photo meant to show Americans criticizing military action on Syria features China protesters too.

China’s gaffe-prone media are at it again – this time regarding the U.S. government’s military action in Syria. According to a report published by the South China Morning Post, yesterday China Radio International put together a photo gallery that was intended to show worldwide protests against military intervention in Syria. However, the international radio broadcaster overlooked one photo that clearly features people protesting China instead.

The photo series (seen here) is titled “People of many nations hold demonstrations in protest of United States military intervention in Syria” and was compiled from various sources around the globe. Demonstrators can be seen from London to Tel Aviv and the streets of the U.S., hoisting signs emblazoned with messages like “Stop Killing Start Talking,” “Hands of Syria” and “War Sucks.” But one photo also carried an unintended jab at China.

Alongside a white sign reading “Free Syria” in red letters, there is also a red sign meant to resemble a PRC flag that says, “China, shame on you, your veto is killing Syrians.” The photo, which seems to have been snapped by Agence France-Presse photographer Mladen Antonov, was pulled down, but within hours had found its way into other news outlets, including Sina News, East Money, and of course Weibo, notes the South China Morning Post.

Media bloopers are a regular fixture in China. Last November People’s Daily Online took seriously The Onion’s satirical ruling that Kim Jong-Un had been awarded the title of sexiest man alive, citing his “air of power that masks an unmistakable cute, cuddly side,” “impeccable fashion sense, chic short hairstyle” and “that famous smile.”

Other goodies came last month when a slew of mainland media outlets picked up yet another satirical piece by the New Yorker, which claimed that Amazon founder Jeff Bezos stumbled onto The Washington Post and bought it by accident when it landed in his online shopping cart – for $250 million.

Even more recently, the Japanese version of used images from artwork for the television sci-fi series Battlestar Galactica to illustrate what top government research engineers are supposedly up to in an article titled “Four Major Trends in Aircraft Carrier Development.”

As Beijing Cream notes, “It’s too bad the editors didn’t do a bit more research and come upon the schematic for Cylon Centurians. Heads would have exploded!”

Jonathan DeHart is associate editor of The Diplomat.