Four journalists suspended for Xi’s “resignation” mistake

Four journalists of an official Chinese news agency have been suspended after committing a typographical error which suggested President Xi Jinping was resigning, a media report said today.

The two reporters and two editors of China News Service – an official service that has a status similar to that of Xinhua – were suspended after referring to President Xi Jinping’s “speech” (zhi ci) at the China-Africa summit in Johannesburg last week as his “resignation” (ci zhi).

The four journalists were suspended even as most of the online reports had corrected the mistake.

The original version of a report filed on Friday by the China News Service referred to Xi saying in his “resignation” that China and Africa had a shared destiny in their histories, Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported.

Some news websites failed to notice the mistake and published the report with the error. But by yesterday most of the online reports had corrected the mistake, it said.

Communist Party’s propaganda department has made it mandatory that major news reports, especially stories involving state leaders, are always published using official news-agency reports.

The Hong Kong-based Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy said the journalists had been suspended because of the mistake involving Xi, who is also the general secretary of the ruling Communist Party of China and the Commander-in-Chief of the People’s Liberation Army.