Journalists suspended after mistakenly announcing Xi Jinping's resignation

Typographical blunder was carried by several leading websites before being removed

Xi Jinping (Global Panorama/Flickr)

A typo in the opening sentence of a Chinese news article incorrectly announcing the resignation of president Xi Jinping has led to four journalists being suspended.

The China News Service, the second-largest state-owned media agency in China, made the embarrassing error in a story published on Friday regarding a speech given by Xi in Johannesburg during his five-day visit to Africa.

Instead of referring to Xi’s ‘speech’, spelled ‘zhi ci’, the report referred to his ‘resignation’, spelled ‘ci zhi’.

The gaffe was soon shared across the internet as many websites re-published the China News Service’s story without correcting it. But the majority of those sites had cleared up the mistake by Sunday evening.

According to the South China Morning Post, among the four punished journalists is Song Fangcan, the news service’s South Africa bureau chief.

An editor speaking to the Post said while such a mistake would be taken seriously, the punishment would not be severe.

"Some people will receive a warning and might be suspended from work for a while to show to the propaganda department that they take such a mistake very seriously. After a while, when the incident is forgotten, they will be able to resume their duties."

The blunder comes just two days after China’s official Xinhua news agency misspelled US president Barack Obama’s name. 

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