Pranks on April Fool’s Day not Chinese tradition: Xinhua

Beijing, April 1 (IANS) China’s state-owned news agency Xinhua has urged people not to play pranks and fall for them on April Fool’s Day which is not in sync with Chinese tradition and core values.

“April Fool’s Day is not in accordance with our cultural tradition, or socialist core values. Please do not believe, create or spread rumours,” said Xinhua’s official page on Sina Weibo, China’s equivalent to Twitter.

On April fool’s Day, first day of the month, people play practical jokes on each other. Though celebrated for centuries, its origin is still unknown.

The post drew sharp and witty reactions from the people and users of blogging site.

“Xinhua must be joking,” a journalist with a Chinese newspaper told IANS. He requested that his name not be revealed.

“This is the most serious April Fool’s Day joke I’ve ever heard,” Global Times quoted a Weibo user.

Some were serious.

“It is just a special day. If you want to celebrate it, you celebrate it; if you don’t want to celebrate it, you just see it as another day. Is it necessary to raise it to the level of socialist core values?” Weibo user @saishangjiutouniao asked.

“You are talking about socialist core values when even the vaccines for our children are not safe? Every day is April Fool’s Day, okay?” said another user.

Of late the communist government has stepped up censorship and vigil on dissent.

This week an editor of the newspaper quit, saying he could no longer “bear the Party’s surname.”

In February, sitting in an anchor’s seat at a state-controlled TV news channel organisation, President Xi Jinping had asked all the media outlets to adopt the party’s surname.

His reference was to the Communist Party of China which controls the government.

China’s top nuclear envoy to visit Japan 

Beijing, April 1 (IANS) China’s special representative for Korean peninsula affairs Wu Dawei will pay a visit to Japan in early April, foreign ministry spokesperson Hong Lei said on Friday.

While in Japan, Wu will hold discussions on the resumption of the six-party talks aimed at denuclearising the Korean peninsula, Xinhua quoted Hong as saying.

The six-party talks, convening North Korea, South Korea, China, the US, Russia and Japan, have been stalled since late 2008.

China has been urging a possible dialogue ever since tensions in the peninsula skyrocketed over Pyongyang’s nuclear test in January — its fourth — and subsequent ballistic tests, the latest of which was conducted on Friday, April 1, Efe news agency reported.

While China backed the UN-imposed sanctions against North Korea for its nuclear and missile tests, it has maintained it is not an end in itself and should be accompanied by dialogue with Pyongyang to persuade the North Korean regime towards disarmament.

Beijing, historically a Pyongyang-ally and one of its main source of economic support, has also criticised the imposition of unilateral sanctions by South Korea and the US against North Korea, as also the long duration of their joint naval drills in the region.

Wu’s visit is one of the first such by a senior official of the Chinese communist regime to Japan in recent years, owing to a practical freeze in ties between the two countries over territorial and historical disputes.

North Korea was also one of the main issues discussed by US President Barack Obama on Thursday, in his bilateral meetings with his Chinese, Japanese and South Korean counterparts, on the sidelines of the ongoing Nuclear Security Summit in Washington.

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