In yet another example showing why it is vitally important to always read your story that one lsat time, Chinese state media referred to President Xi Jinping as “China’s last leader” in an article on Sunday.
Xinhua had actually meant to call Xi Dada “China’s top leader” (最高), but a simple typo (最后) gave the normally banal sentence an entirely new and intriguing meaning, The New York Times reports.
Before anyone noticed, the article was widely reprinted by publications across the country, while Xinhua issued a correction, many outlets decided to err on the side of caution and just delete the article all together.
Though these kinds of errors involving China’s top leadership are exceedingly rare, they do slip through from time to time. For instance, last year, four state media journalists were suspended after accidentally reporting that President Xi had “resigned,” when it turned out he had merely “given a speech.”
Additionally, earlier this month, the editor at Southern Metropolis Daily was fired over a front page headline that could be read to say: “Media following the surname of the party have their souls returned to the sea.” Though, it’s unclear if this was intentional or not.
While it is also not clear what sort of punishments will be doled out this time, the editors involved really could not have picked a worse time to make this kind of mistake. Last month, Xi made some high-profile visits to state media outlets in Beijing, declaring that all media must be “surnamed Party” so they can give “correct guidance of public opinion” by “singing the main theme, transmitting positive energy.”
We’re pretty sure this isn’t quite what he meant by all that.