The April Fool Archive

PhDs Exempt From China’s One-Child Policy    (April Fool's Day - 1993)

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."

More content from the Hoax Museum:


The one-child policy is already a sick joke.
Posted by maki watanabe  on  Tue May 11, 2004  at  02:29 PM
I bet the people who green lighted that where killed in a "simultaneous hunting accident" in which they had shot each other in the back of the head with "standard-issue DPRC Army rifles."
Posted by redstar  on  Sat Apr 02, 2005  at  05:09 PM
Yes, but what is this "DPRC"? There's no such country as the "Democratic People's Republic of China". Mainland China's just known as the "People's Republic of China". And now that I've contributed my two cents' worth, I'll bugger off.
Posted by Gareth Keenan  on  Sun Apr 03, 2005  at  02:26 PM
But the One-Child Policy makes sense, doesn't it? And it might be beneficial to have intellectuals exempted from it.

But that's really not a very funny joke, either way.
Posted by me  on  Mon Mar 13, 2006  at  07:12 PM
I can just imagine some of the doctors in the country saw this and knocked up their wives (or got knocked up) only to find out too late that it was a joke...

I don't got a problem with the one-child policy, but they made a huge mistake in not making it far more beneficial to have a female rather than a male.
Posted by Hebitsuikaza  on  Mon Mar 27, 2006  at  03:45 PM
The really interesting thing is that people still believe this news report in China!!!
Posted by Mark G  on  Thu Mar 30, 2006  at  06:59 PM
"Dangerous Western Influence", I can't stand it when governments treat their citizens like idiots.
Posted by Joan  on  Mon Jul 31, 2006  at  09:13 PM
I was surprised that a state-owned Chinese newspaper would run an April Fool's joke. And I believe it is officially known as the People's Republic of China. Of course, Most people just call it China!
Posted by Rilap Oflos  on  Sat Mar 31, 2007  at  02:36 PM
In my country ( Brazil ) the April 1st is actually known as Liar's Day. Looks like it happens when people see no fun on this kind of prank.
Posted by Rose  on  Wed Feb 06, 2008  at  06:39 PM
rolling on the floor, laughing my butt off at redstar even though it is 3 years later. Not even careing if it is DPRC or just PRC. The joke is still funny.
Posted by Aemrjay  on  Tue Apr 01, 2008  at  10:53 AM