You’d better think twice if you’re a Chinese citizen and want to play an April Fools’ prank.
Three years ago, the Chinese government launched a campaign to criminalize the spreading of rumors online. And now, according to a report in the Washington Post, the government is explicitly denouncing the Western tradition of April Fools’ Day.
“’April Fools’ Day’ is not consistent with our cultural tradition, or socialist core values,” state news agency Xinhua announced on social media Friday. “Hope nobody believes in rumors, makes rumors or spreads rumors.”
According to the Post, social media users in China found the announcement funny in its own right, with one user writing that “every day is April Fools’ Day” when it comes to government propaganda.
Chinese officials would probably do well to focus their energies on finding ways to boost its struggling economy, rather than policing jokes online. The world’s second biggest economy received some good news on that front Friday, however, when the Purchasing Managers Index unexpectedly showed growth in the manufacturing sector for the first time in nine months