Lee Kuan Yew, the ‘founding father’ of Singapore.
Chinese media outlets including CCTV, NetEase, Phoenix, Sohu and Sina fell victim to a hoax and jumped the gun by reporting the death of Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s first Prime Minister, at around 10 p.m. last night. As of writing, 91-year-old Lee remains critically ill in the hospital.
Phoenix reported the news and then apologizes on its Weibo acccount.
Sina did the same.
Within 25 minutes, the news portals retracted their statements and apologized for the misinformation, according to the tag page on Sina Weibo.
People’s Daily & The Global Times released the fake news at around 10 p.m. last night.
Lee remains in critically ill condition at the Singapore General Hospital “and has deteriorated further”, according to the latest statement posted by Lee Hsien Loong, Lee Kuan Yew’s son and Singapore’s current prime minister.
China News’ report.
According to the WSJ, a website resembling that of the prime minister’s office had posted false information about Lee’s death sometime late Wednesday, and several media sites reported soon after. Singapore police are now looking into the matter.
CCTV News reports Lee’s death.
Tens of thousands of web users took to online forums to comment on the error made by Chinese media.
NetEase even made a collage.
User 姚小贱贱贱 wrote, “I recall a line in a TV series called ‘Editorial Room’ saying, ‘our responsibility is to report the news but not pronounce the death of person, which would be the duty of doctors’.”
People have been gathering outside of the hospital to pay tribute as Singapore “prepares for life without the politician”, according to The Guardian.
By Lucy Liu
[Images via Weibo]