Bil Browning

Chinese Newspaper Publishes Hoax AIDS Obit for Rival

Filed By Bil Browning | August 18, 2014 11:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Media
Tags: Apple Daily, fake advertisements, fake news, Hong Kong, Jimmy Lai, obituaries

hong_kong_fake_obit.jpgWhile the days of rival newspapers may have ended in America thanks to the amount of media consolidation, in China the competition is still going strong. Just ask Jimmy Lai, the founder and owner of the pro-democracy paper Apple Daily. His main rival, the Oriental Daily, just ran a full-page ad announcing that he had died of AIDS.

It wasn't clear who took out the fake obituary, which said Lai Chee-ying died at 65 from AIDS and multiple cancers. It referred to Lai by his Chinese name but used a different written character for Chee that sounds the same.

The graphic style of the fake obituary mirrored that of real obituaries in Hong Kong media. It said the tycoon was also known as "Fatty Lai" and that his family members also had severe diseases and couldn't attend his funeral. It offered condolences to staff at Two Media, a disguised reference to Lai's company. The literal translation of the Chinese characters in his company's name is One Media.

You probably know the company better as Next Media, Ltd - the company behind all those animated shorts humorously recapping news stories. Naturally, Lai responded by making an animated video combined with shots of himself taking selfies to say, "This joke isn't good enough because I still don't have AIDS. If you want me to die, you'll have to keep cursing me."

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