Chinese Communist hero Lei Feng not belovedby US cadets after all
Beijing (AFP) - A former Chinese journalist has admitted falling for anApril Fool joke which sparked a decades-long myth in his country -- that USofficer cadets learnt from the example of Communist military hero Lei Feng.
Li Zhurun, a former reporter for China'sofficial Xinhua news agency who is now a university professor, made theconfession on his Sina Weibo microblog.
Ever since Communist China's supreme leaderMao Zedong recognised Lei Feng for his humble heroism, said to include washinghis comrades' uniforms and giving his pay to the needy, authorities haveencouraged citizens to do good and follow his example.
While China's increasingly media-savvypopulation has come to question the authenticity of the Lei Feng story, thefolk hero remains popular in some quarters. Pictures of him wearing histrademark earflap army hat have become a pop icon emblazoned on everything frombags to cups.
In his posting, Li said he had been dupedby an unspecified Western news outlet, which reported on April Fool's Day 1981that the West Point military academy in New York Statehad held up the People's Liberation Army (PLA) soldier as an example for allstudents.
"I was young at the time, and I didn'tknow that Western media often invent 'news' on April Fool's Day," Liwrote.
The state-run China Daily newspaper onTuesday identified the Western outlet as the United Press International newsagency. But it was not clear where Li was based at the time, or who he wrotethe story for.
Over the past three decades, the West Pointmyth has become so entrenched in Chinathat even a member of the country's advisory discussion body, the ChinesePeople's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), cited it in a 2009 proposalurging Beijingto apply for UNESCO recognition of the "Lei Feng Spirit".
"At America's famous West Point, LeiFeng's portrait is among five hanging in the hall, and the academy's code ofstudent conduct includes his famous quote: 'Human life is limited, but servingthe people is limitless,'" CPPCC member Liu Jianglong said, according tothe Chongqing Morning Post.
And that, sir, is why journalists shouldalways verify facts.
Never heard of the guy. China is astrange place. They need to ditch the communism and enter the 21st century..
Whats sad is 1.4 billion idiots in Chinabelieves everything their media tells them.