Psst, Chinese State Media: It's Satire

A man reads newspapers posted on a bulletin board along a street in Beijing Photograph by Teh Eng Koon/AFP/Getty Images

One element so often lost in translation is humor. This week, Xinhua, China’s state-run newswire, picked up and translated a satirical blog post from the New Yorker’s Borowitz Report as though it were straight news reporting: “Amazon founder says he clicked on Washington Post by mistake.” While American readers intuitively got the joke—ahem, billionaire entrepreneur Jeff Bezos did not really say, “I keep telling them, I don’t know how it got in my cart”—Xinhua editors’ reading was strictly literal. The newswire’s breaking “report” has since been taken down, but the website Shanghaiist has preserved a screenshot.

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