In yet another case of being lost in translation, Chinese Internet giant Tencent, along with multiple Chinese news sources, has fallen victim to a satirical video on the amount of debauchery occurring in Sochi during the Winter Olympics, produced by well-known jokers, The Onion.
Tencent, the company behind the extremely popular messaging app WeChat, published a report on the video claiming that “Western media” had a video featuring “explosive footage” that shed light on the kinds of “crazy sex” parties that go on in the Olympic Village among athletes. The Tencent report touched on the widely believed notion that the Olympics are a frenzy of hookups and one-night stands between athletes, something that does seem to have truth to it. In fact, the Olympic Committee did indeed distribute thousands of condoms. Where the Chinese went wrong, however, was in citing their sources. “In this two-minute video, we have seen many crazy scenes,” the report said, citing the Onion video. “Having sex on a balcony is comparatively very conservative.”
“We can see people crazily making love in public squares, restaurants and gyms. Even though there are others training or eating nearby, the wildness of these crazy love makers still cannot be stopped.”
The original video, below, was a fake, exaggerated segment looking at Sochi’s state-of-the-art Olympic Village facilities where athletes “live, train and f--- each other.” The video quotes a made-up Russian character named Vasily Fedya, with the title Olympic Village developer, who describes the main purpose of the village facilities. “We have a pool where they can have sex, a theater where they can have sex, a restaurant where they have sex, anything they need, we have it.” The content of the three-minute "report" goes on like this, dropping several vulgarities and making it hard to believe how a legitimate company, and several legitimate websites, could have mistaken it for real news.
The report was also picked up by several mainland Chinese websites, like iFeng.com, and newspaper Shenyang Daily in addition to the Hong Kong newspaper Wen Wei Po.
This isn’t China’s first run-in with the Onion. Spoofing on Time magazine’s person of the year, the Onion crowned North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as the “Sexiest Man Alive for 2012,” dethroning 2011 winner Bashar al-Assad. The People’s Daily, the official organ of the Communist Party, took the article seriously, and republished quotes from the report online, accompanying it with a 55-photo slideshow of the dictator.