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Posts that Chinese leader Xi Jinping announced ‘loyal men’s day’ share altered news report

In World
May 21, 2024

A doctored news report has circulated in Indonesian social media posts that falsely claimed Chinese President Xi Jinping declared April 11 “world loyal men’s day” to honour a popular gamer who took his own life over a purported failed relationship. A representative for CNBC Indonesia told AFP it published no such report. There were no official announcements from the Chinese government about any “world loyal men’s day” as of May 21, 2024.

“Chinese President Xi Jinping designated the day Fat Cat died as world loyal men’s day,” read the Indonesian-language headline of the doctored report shared on TikTok on May 8, 2024.

The image, shared more than 1,000 times, appears to show a screenshot of a CNBC Indonesia article published on May 7, 2024.

It featured the byline “Tommy Patrio Sorongan”.

<span>Screenshot of the false post taken May 16, 2024</span>” data-src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/tVEZefaF6uG8Ag.kV6Oatw–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTUwMg–/https://media.zenfs.com/en/afp_factcheck_us_713/36323132e1771ea0fcf5cbb0429621f7″><noscript><img alt=Screenshot of the false post taken May 16, 2024” src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/tVEZefaF6uG8Ag.kV6Oatw–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTUwMg–/https://media.zenfs.com/en/afp_factcheck_us_713/36323132e1771ea0fcf5cbb0429621f7″ class=”caas-img”>

Screenshot of the false post taken May 16, 2024

“Fat Cat” was the online moniker of Liu Jie, a 21-year-old Chinese gamer based in the southwestern city of Chongqing who took his own life on April 11, 2024 (archived link).

Soon after, social media posts by a woman claiming to be the gamer’s sister alleged he died of a broken heart and accused his girlfriend of scamming him.

The posts sparked widespread pity online, with related hashtags on Weibo racking up billions of views.

However, Chongqing police said on May 20 their investigation found no evidence Liu’s girlfriend had scammed him (archived link).

The police added Liu’s sisters paid to promote their posts about his partner which triggered online bullying against her.

The screenshot was also shared alongside similar false claims across Indonesian-language social media posts, including on TikTok, Instagram, Facebook and short-video platform SnackVideo, racking up more than 470,000 views.

But keyword searches for official announcements from the Chinese government did not find any mention of the gamer (archived link).

The screenshot actually shows a manipulated CNBC Indonesia news report.

Doctored report

A keyword search on CNBC Indonesia’s website using the date, time and byline shown in the screenshot did not find any articles about Xi Jinping declaring “world loyal men’s day”.

The details, however, correspond to a report about a meeting between the Chinese leader and French President Emmanuel Macron (archived link).

Its headline read: “Xi Jinping and Macron’s meeting took place, what’s going on between China and France?”

Below is a screenshot comparison of the altered article (left) and the original CNBC Indonesia report (right), with the corresponding details marked by AFP:

<span>Screenshot comparison</span>” data-src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/hYBNMyxu0gdYWTckGrUsgQ–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTU0MA–/https://media.zenfs.com/en/afp_factcheck_us_713/6142f27a90fbdcfbc5cabfd23edec8e7″><noscript><img alt=Screenshot comparison” src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/hYBNMyxu0gdYWTckGrUsgQ–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTU0MA–/https://media.zenfs.com/en/afp_factcheck_us_713/6142f27a90fbdcfbc5cabfd23edec8e7″ class=”caas-img”>

Screenshot comparison

Xi’s picture in the circulating screenshot was taken by Reuters news agency in 2016 (archived link).

CNBC Indonesia editorial secretary Dara Ayu Lestari separately told AFP on May 16 the circulating screenshot was “altered” from the CNBC Indonesia report about the Xi and Macron meeting.

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