||April Fool's Day Hoaxes Intended as Social Critiques
PhDs Exempt From China’s One-Child Policy.
The China Youth Daily, an official state newspaper of China, announced on its front page that the government had decided to make Ph.D. holders exempt from the state-imposed one-child limit. The logic behind this decision was that it would eventually reduce the need to invite as many foreign experts into the country to help with the state's modernization effort.
Despite a disclaimer beneath the story identifying it as a joke, the report was repeated as fact by Hong Kong's New Evening News and by Agence France-Presse, an international news agency. What made the hoax seem credible to many was that intellectuals in Singapore were encouraged to marry each other and have children, and China's leaders were known to have great respect for the Singapore system.
The Chinese government responded to the hoax by condemning April Fool's Day as a dangerous Western tradition. The Guangming Daily, Beijing's main newspaper for intellectuals, ran an editorial stating that April Fool's jokes "are an extremely bad influence" and that "Put plainly, April Fool's Day is Liar's Day."
15th Annual New York City April Fool’s Day Parade.
A news release sent to the media stated that the 15th annual New York City April Fool's Day Parade was scheduled to begin at noon on 59th Street and would proceed down to Fifth Avenue. According to the news release, floats in the parade would include a "Beat 'em, Bust ';em, Book 'em" float created by the New York, Los Angeles, and Seattle police departments. This float would portray “themes of brutality, corruption and incompetence.“ A “Where’s Mars?“ float, reportedly built at a cost of $10 billion, would portray missed Mars missions. Finally, the “Atlanta Braves Baseball Tribute to Racism” float would feature John Rocker who would be “spewing racial epithets at the crowd.“ CNN and the Fox affiliate WNYW sent television news crews to cover the parade. They arrived at 59th Street at noon only to discover that there was no parade. The police informed them that they had received no notification of a parade. Reluctantly, the reporters realized that they had been hoaxed. The prank was the handiwork of Joey Skaggs, a well-known hoaxer.
PETA’s Tournament of Sleeping Fish.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) warned that it planned to sabotage the bass fishing tournament in East Texas's Lake Palestine by releasing tranquilizers into the lake before the tournament. Their announcement stated that "this year, the fish will be napping, not nibbling." State officials took the threat seriously and stationed rangers around the lake in order to stop any tranquilizer-toting PETA activists from drugging the fish, and numerous newspapers reported the threat. Eventually PETA admitted that it had been joking.
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