Chinese state media blunders in calling Xi Jinping the country's 'last leader'

State media agency issued correction over typo but not before it was reported on other news websites.

Xi Jinping (Foreign & Commonwealth Office/Flickr)
Xi Jinping (Foreign & Commonwealth Office/Flickr)

China’s president Xi Jinping was once again the victim of a typographical gaffe by the nation’s media as Xinhua accidentally labelled him "China’s last leader" over the weekend.

In an article about the annual National People’s Congress, the annual session of China’s legislature, Xinhua made the error in referring to Xi.

According to Hong Kong newspaper Ming Pao, around an hour after the article was published Xinhua circulated a correction telling everyone who reposted the article to change the phrase to ‘China’s top leader’.

The incident is of significant embarrassment to Xinhua, as it is China’s largest state-run media agency and any reports regarding the ruling Communist party are meant to go through rigorous editing procedures before being published.

At the time of publishing this article, most Chinese websites had corrected their articles as Xinhua requested. The agency itself has taken the article down.

No information on possible recriminations has yet been released, although punishing journalists for such errors has occurred in the recent past.

In December, four journalists at the China News Service, another state media organ, were suspended for mistakenly reporting Xi’s resignation in an article about a speech he gave during a five-day visit to Africa.

Xinhua’s error comes as huge pressure mounts on Chinese media from the ruling party to toe the line.

Last month Xi visited three state-run media companies and told them they must "love the party, protect the party and closely align themselves with the party leadership".

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