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That's how the 'Miniharm' headline read. The story? Well, it went viral.
HONG KONG — You could say that China is finally getting some revenge after falling for an Onion story naming Kim Jong Un the “sexiest man alive.”
A recent article by a Beijing-based satirical website went viral on Twitter and Facebook when thousands of people didn’t seem to understand it was a joke.
“China banned from Sochi Olympics after figure skater tests positive for homosexuality,” ran the headline.
The story claimed that Li Chunguang, a young male figure skater, was kicked out of Sochi when he was found to have “a blood-homosexuality level of over 70 percent.”
Speaking at a press conference, the head of the Sochi Olympic Committee, Anton Smirnov, defended the ban, saying that “athletes who choose to be homosexual are 30 to 40 times more likely to win a medal in the gay events, as the condition often makes sufferers incurably fabulous.”
It was a brilliant skewering of Russia’s anti-gay laws and of China’s state-directed obsession with winning gold.
Ministry of Harmony declined GlobalPost's request for comment, and asked simply to be identified as "Miniharm, the proper Orwellian abbreviation."
It was also pretty obviously a joke. (The article lists several “homosexuality-enhancing drugs” such as “homofil” and “queeritol” and ends with a joint statement affirming “that homosexuality did not exist” in Russia and China.)
Apparently thousands of people missed the clues.
The piece was shared more than 48,000 times on Facebook and hundreds of times on Twitter, many of them from people who seemed not to get it.
This makes me really sad..I was looking forward to seeing China perform. http://t.co/yHQl0VWDvX
— sharlenerose (@linlincastro) January 28, 2014
So sad that people still think drugs are the only way to win... http://t.co/v4mboHJtNF
— CB (@chelseabroesky) January 28, 2014
— Edyth MacDonald (@EdythLauw) January 28, 2014
Granted, plenty of weird stuff happens in China (noses grown on foreheads, rivers full of pigs), and the satire comes so close to the truth that you can almost understand why people would fall for it.