Both disturbing and hilarious, the China Daily Show dishes out sharp satire of English-language state media like its namesake the China Daily. Anonymous editor Mr. R tells us just where China Daily Show's humor comes from.
What inspired China Daily Show (CDS)?
A lot of people who read the site think “Damn, my friend and I were talking about this exact same idea over two-for-one mojitos in Sanlitun ...” CDS happened the same way, except, amazingly, actually got done the next morning. As far as inspiration goes, some people have pointed to The Onion as an obvious starting point but British humorists at Private Eye and Viz magazines have been doing similar things for years.
What’s your favorite English-language state media publication?
That would have to be China Daily. It’s highly absorbent.
What are three ways readers can tell they’re reading CDS and not China Daily?
It’s becoming more difficult. But if you’re not strapped to a chair with matchsticks in your eyelids, stranded in a railway station in Shaanxi or swotting up on your Party entrance exams, chances are it’s us you’re reading.
Some of the articles, in the Olympics section especially, state they were posted in 2008, but we only heard about you guys recently? When did you get CDS off the ground?
An early version was demo’ed in 2008 coinciding with the initial surge in China interest round the Olympics but for various reasons, never got off the ground properly and was pulled after a short while. This time, the right people collaborated—and we intend to stay the course this time
How many are involved in CDS?
In the beginning, it was just two of us. Then, others wanted in. Now, there are half a dozen, with a foreigner-local breakdown of about 80-20.
In your tag cloud, “France” and “Feelings” are hot topics. Why focus on these?
Partly a hangover from the Olympics, partly because of the media’s tendency to describe offense in terms akin to that of a snubbed child at a birthday party.
Many comments on the site are by users who think the articles are truth rather than satire. Are these comments for reals? Any favorites?
All comments, such as they are, are real. We filter out spammers as much as possible but don’t make up credulous comments, honestly. My favorite one so far was from someone who logged on to criticize the site for its lack of quality and finally concluded “I think I’d rather just read China Daily and take the piss on its own comment pages”! That guy was a comic genius.
Any response from Da Shan about your piece on his White Rabbit romp?
Given that he’s a comedian, I’d like to think he was grimly amused ... At least, there’s been no word from him or his legal team.
What’s site traffic like?
Being a time-honored website, established October 2010, we were delighted when a piece about grain production was linked by Xinhua. This led a to a 400 percent increase in web traffic. Unfortunately, our site was then crippled by malware we suspect was sent by imperialist cyber-warriors—no doubt from the decadent West.