After the Chinese Defense Ministry was exposed and mocked for publishing a celebratory poster ostensibly of the Chinese military, but which prominently featured Russian MiG-35 jets and US-made amphibious vessels, an official fessed up to the flub.
The ministry is “sincerely sorry,” said spokesman Yang Yujun, for the image, which was generously characterized as “not meticulous.” The editors of the photo were first on the chopping block for their “carelessness” in crafting the picture.
Still, “the responsibility is on the shoulders of the leadership,” Yang added.
This admission of guilt may have set a new record. According to the Global Times, a state-backed news outlet, Yang’s confession marks the first time the Defense Ministry has atoned for a work error.
The phony poster appeared on the People’s Liberation Army’s WeChat and Weibo social media accounts to promote national pride for the PLA-Navy’s 68th anniversary.
It was immediately tagged as a fraud by Chinese social media users, becoming comedic fodder both for its multinational weaponry and for its abysmal quality.
“We are so patriotic, in vain,” one Weibo user commented, while another saw the image as evidence that “everyone at the propaganda department is mentally deficient.”
But the apology was met with approval as social media users changed their tone, the South China Morning Post reported. “This is the right way to deal with the public,” one social media user noted. Another user chimed in: “At least they didn’t blame it on a temporary worker.”
Perhaps the flub could be used as leverage to give the Chinese public a say in how the Type 001A aircraft carrier recently completed at the Dalian shipyard will be known. “Will the cost for this mistake be that you’ll let us name the aircraft carrier?” one netizen inquired. A recent poll in China found “Mantis Shrimp” and “Taiwan” as the two frontrunners to name the new carrier, SCMP reported.
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