People’s Daily runs foul of readers with obscene online word puzzle

PUBLISHED : Monday, 02 January, 2017, 11:52pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 03 January, 2017, 8:35am

The English-language social media accounts of People’s Daily, the Communist Party’s official newspaper, surprised readers on Monday by posting a word puzzle that contained obscene terms.

The post appeared on People’s Daily’s Twitter and Facebook accounts at about 2.30am.

“#NewYear2017 word puzzle just for fun: the first three words you see that might define your 2017. What do you see?” the post said.

But among the words in the picture were “turd”, “testicle” and various obscenities.

Critical posts from readers piled up under the post, questioning why the content had appeared. “Who checked that this was suitable for publication? This sort of language should not be used by the national newspaper of China. So much for following government guidelines,” said Stephen Mcilroy, a Facebook user living in Harbin, Heilongjiang province.

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“Not nice to be cursed during a NEW START OF THE YEAR!” Ghee Bleasdale, another Facebook user, wrote.

“Delete this post!”said Katmandu-based Binod Khanal on Facebook.

A People’s Daily employee in the United States who helps run the organisation’s ­Facebook and Twitter accounts, said the puzzle was posted by one of the online editors who did not examine it carefully.

“There are countless ways to combine letters in the picture,” he said.

“We cannot combine all the words in the puzzle and see whether it contains improper words before we post it because our time is rather limited.”

The quiz was removed on Monday night.

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Online users warned of the hugely damaging effect on the state-owned publication.

“The way to spoil your credibility,” bc, a Canada-based Twitter user, said.

“Provocating, contemptuous, ill intention & harbour a tendency to tax the intelligence of readers,” wrote Penang-based retired photographer Lee Kh on Facebook.

A lot of readers also made fun of the post.

“All curse words. Nice,” said Chandra Christine on Twitter.

“Did they get hacked or are they just keeping it real?” asked piscator111 on Reddit.com, which had a copy of the original People’s Daily tweet.