The hoax essay “All of China is a Knock-off”

The hoax essay "All of China is a Knock-off"An essay concerned with all the counterfeits plaguing China is also a counterfeit.


From a China dispatch by Evan Osnos in The New Yorker:

"…It first appeared on Douban, a culture forum, written in Chinese but, curiously, with a Western byline: Steven Zuckerberg. It was scooped up by Chinese news portals, which described it as the translated writings of an American and gave it a headline: "An American Youth Says: All of China is a Knock-Off." The piece cited a long list of pirated music and Nokia knock-off phones and Nike rip-offs and the like to argue that China is racked by a culture of imitation that stifles genuine creativity. The piece was polarizing, drawing criticism from China’s patriots and praise from liberal Chinese writers who credited a foreign writer with an astute observation."

But the essay was not what it seemed. It was written under a pseudonym by a Chinese student as an experiment. Would China respond in a different way to criticism from a Westerner than from a Chinese citizen?

(A clue was the fake name "Steven Zuckerberg" – The initials S.Z. are a reference to "shanzhai," the Chinese word for "imitation.")

The hoax essay writer, Wang Hongzhe, discovered that where a message originates affects how the message is received.

See also this Deceptology entry: Counterfeiting is merely shanzhai>>

A Chinese Pirate Unmasks, The New Yorker>>

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