The Chinese state media outlet, Xinhua, seemed to be completely serious when it told Chinese citizens to ignore the April Fools’ holiday and its traditions.
On its Weibo page, the agency wrote the statement “April Fool’s Day is not in keeping with our national cultural tradition or socialist core values. Please do not believe, create or spread rumors.”
The Communist outlet is the last place many would expect to see a joke, but the day’s statement gave plenty of people a laugh. After just a few hours a long thread of thousands of amused comments was attached to the post.
“This is the best April Fool’s Day joke yet,” wrote one Weibo user.
“In the West, it only happens one day a year; however, in certain Asian countries, it is every day, every year,” another posted.
“The media is publishing false news to fool people every single day, what difference is one more?” another user commented.
“In China, every day is April Fool’s Day,” echoed another.
“I will watch CCTV news to celebrate April Fool’s Day,” another wrote in.
“I never knew Xinhua had a sense of humor,” another posted.
Xinhua apparently didn’t appreciate the remarks as it eventually banned users from posting comments to the statement.
Chinese media has fallen for pranks before. Probably the most infamous occasion was in 2012 when the People’s Daily reported that Kim Jong-un had been named “Sexiest Man Alive,” citing The Onion. The Chinese newspaper ran a 55-page photo spread of the Korean dictator before they realized it was satire.