Media regulation

Phoenix Weekly gives Politburo member a promotion

An important correction

The current issue of Phoenix Weekly contains a typo so serious that a correction insert had to be included with the magazine:

An important correction:

On line 15 of page 36, "Politburo Standing Committee" should be "Politburo Member."

At issue is the proper list of titles for Li Yuanchao (李源潮), who hosted the opening ceremony of a seminar for county party chiefs on November 10. Li is a member of the Politburo, secretary of the Secretariat, and head of the Organization Department, but he's not yet been named to the Politburo Standing Committee.

Heads will roll over this.

Phoenix Weekly, December 5, 2008

The issue's cover story is on "transplant tourism"; as is often the case with this magazine, the eye-catching cover is the best part.

In other news about the black market for human organs, Chinese Business View recently reported on a local variation of the well-known urban legend about kidney theft:

Chengcheng County, Shaanxi Province, has been buzzing about the story that some girls were kidnapped on their way to school and then had their kidneys stolen. Frightened parents are taking their children to school more often. Yesterday, this reporter confirmed from multiple sources that the stories are nothing more than rumors.

The most common variation of the story is this: One morning in November, a few girls were waylaid on their way to school in urban Chengcheng. After their parents and the school searched all over for them without any luck, the students reappeared. But something had changed: the criminals had stolen their kidneys. But since they couldn't explain what had happened to them, the local police weren't able to solve the case. Some people said that the criminals were highly skilled and had harvested the girls' kidneys without them even noticing.

This story circulated for nearly a fortnight, spreading from the city to the countryside in Chengcheng County. No one could pinpoint the source. Yesterday, some highschool teachers in Chengcheng said that they'd heard the story and that students and their parents had been asking about it. The parent of one student said that whether or not the story was true, it had gotten worse the more it spread: "In any event, I'll be taking my kid to and from school for the duration."

When the local Education Bureau checked up on all the schools in the county, it found no missing students, and no students whose kidneys had suddenly gone missing.

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