The Western tradition of April Fool’s Day has become popular in communist-ruled China in recent years, as a once deeply solemn and obedient society learns to use the occasion to play jokes and spread hoaxes. But the leadership, or at least its propaganda arms, apparently view the stunts as too politically sensitive. ‘Downton Abbey’ filming in Hong Kong? The best April Fools gags that made the news “The April Fool’s Day celebrations agree with neither China’s socialist core values, nor Chinese tradition,” Xinhua said today. “Please don’t believe, spread or create rumours,” it said on its weibo account. The warning by state media comes amid political tension surrounding the controversial Maoist ideological campaign as well as unease over social instability. The Xinhua article seemed to be a pre-emptive effort to stymie any rumour-mongers or satirical political jokes. In a recent high-profile tour of the country’s top three state-run media outlets, President Xi Jinping urged journalists to pledge absolute loyalty to the Communist Party and his leadership. Embarrassingly, state-run media, including the three Xi visited, have succumbed to hoaxes. In 2013, Xinhua fell for a fake Time magazine cover, while the business daily 21st Century Herald was tricked into reporting the renowned American economist Paul Krugman was broke. China’s party paper falls for 'Sexiest Man Alive' joke about Kim Jong-un The same year, CCTV’s news channel reported during its prime time evening news that Virgin Atlantic, the airline owned by billionaire Richard Branson, was launching the world’s first glass-floored plane. In November 2012, People’s Daily jumped on a report by the satirical website The Onion declaring North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un “the sexiest man alive”.