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Google Purge: Chinese bloggers fooled by Onion hoax

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Google executives burning books... NOT

America's satirical website The Onion is occasionally mistaken for a serious news source by Chinese newspaper. In April 2004, Wired reported the following:

The article in the Beijing Evening News told a shocking story of American hubris: Congress was behaving like a petulant baseball team and threatening to bolt Washington, D.C., unless it got a new, modern Capitol building, complete with retractable roof.

There was a problem with the story. Rather than do his own original reporting, Evening News writer Huang Ke had cribbed, nearly word for word, his text from an American publication. And as if that wasn't bad enough, Ke hadn't bothered to vet the source he had plagiarized: The Onion.

At first, the Evening News stood by its story, demanding proof it wasn't true. It finally did apologize, but stubbornly tried to deflect blame for having been duped.

It wrote: "Some small American newspapers frequently fabricate offbeat news to trick people into noticing them with the aim of making money.

It seems that some Chinese bloggers have been similarly duped by an Onion article about "Google Purge":

Google Announces Plan To Destroy All Information It Can't Index

Executives at Google, the rapidly growing online-search company that promises to "organize the world's information," announced Monday the latest step in their expansion effort: a far-reaching plan to destroy all the information it is unable to index.

"Our users want the world to be as simple, clean, and accessible as the Google home page itself," said Google CEO Eric Schmidt at a press conference held in their corporate offices.

A Chinese blogger picked up on the news item, translated it, and published it as a news item on Donews.com, the blog and forum portal that describes itself as an "IT community and media platform". There is some common sense about though: the third commentor on the story warns that the information is false.

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