Do you remember the news about huge television screens broadcasting the movements of sun in Beijing because of the thick smog?
Turns out, it was a hoax.
After the story spread like wildfire in Western media, reports contradicting the news started to emerge over the weekend.
It all started when British tabloid newspaper Mail Online (aka Daily Mail) published an article on January 17 stating natural light-starved masses in Beijing were flocking to “huge digital commercial television screens across the city to observe virtual sunrises.”
“The sunrise is actually a clip from a tourism ad for Shandong province, in China’s northeast; it’s on screen for maybe 10 seconds or so per loop,” reports Quartz.com.
Shanghai was blanketed with record levels of smog last month, while air in the usually more polluted capital, Beijing, was relatively clear, according to Reuters.
The government advised children and the elderly in Shanghai to stay at home on some days. However, in none of these cities broadcast the sunrise or the sunset on LED screens.
This is the second hoax this month which was widely circulated by the Western news media.
Earlier, the story about North Korean leader Kim Jong-un feeding his uncle to dogs was given the same treatment as the Chinese sunrise. Max Fisher of the Washington Post was right when he stated that the fact that the Western media so widely accepted a story they would reject if it came out of any other country “tells a lot about how North Korea is covered -- and how it's misunderstood.”
The same can be said about China now, it seems.