July 19, 2007

Never fear, MINE aren't!

Beijing's cardboard-stuffed buns a hoax

By ALEXA OLESEN

The Associated Press

BEIJING (AP) A freelance reporter for a Beijing television station has been detained for faking a hidden camera report about street vendors who used chemical-soaked cardboard to fill meat buns, local media said. [...]

The story, allegedly shot with a hidden camera, was first broadcast on Beijing Television's Life Channel on June 8 and then again on China Central Television last week.

It created a buzz on the Internet, and people flooded chat rooms with comments expressing shock and disgust. On the YouTube Web site, the video had been viewed more than 6,000 times by Thursday.

Beijing Television apologized to the public during an evening news broadcast Wednesday and said the reporter, identified by the official Xinhua News Agency as Zi Beijia, was detained by police. A copy of the broadcast was obtained by AP Television News on Thursday.

"He used deceptive means to get the footage on the air," said news anchor Wang Ye, without giving specifics. "The Beijing Public Security Bureau has taken the criminal suspect, Zi, into custody and he will be severely dealt with according to law."

Hmmm--so I guess "fake but accurate" doesn't go over too well in China. Well, the freelance version of it, at least.

Zi's footage appeared to show a makeshift kitchen where fluffy buns were stuffed with 60 percent cardboard that had been softened in a bath of caustic soda and 40 percent fatty pork.

Beijing Television said an investigation revealed that in mid-June, Zi brought meat, flour, cardboard and other ingredients to a downtown Beijing neighborhood and had four migrant workers make the buns for him while he filmed the process. It said Zi "gave them the idea" of mincing softened cardboard and adding it to the buns.

The newscaster said the station was "profoundly sorry" for the fake report and its "vile impact on society." The station vowed to prevent inaccurate news coverage in the future.

"We just wanted to be more like BBC and Reuters, but frankly, they're much better at producing propaganda than we are."

Police said Zi told editors he wanted to investigate the quality of pork buns, and spent two weeks visiting stands but could not find anything to report, Xinhua said. He filmed the fake report after coming under pressure to produce a story, the agency said.

I believe it's called 'the narrative was right, but the facts were wrong.'

The report prompted Beijing's health authorities to investigate more than two dozen vendors selling pork buns a common breakfast in China. None was found to use cardboard.

Authorities said specialists determined it was impossible for cardboard buns to go unnoticed.

"Even if you mix a tiny proportion, to say 5 percent, of cardboard, the fiber substance can be easily seen, and the meat buns made this way could not be easily chewed," Xinhua said, citing a Beijing Municipal Food Safety Office spokesman.

Okay, now this is where they're just flat wrong.

I can safely say that Possumblog Kitchens' New Chinese Tiny Morsel Hi-Fiber Buns have only the tiniest of cardboard fibers, virtually invisible to the naked eye (assuming they are closed) and are so soft and tender that they could be chewed by toothless 100-year-old crones with absolutely no difficulty whatsoever!

Try them today! Now with the great flavors of either brown or white cardboard!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at July 19, 2007 12:44 PM
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