Changing China

Giant on the move

That’s right, Grandpa Wen!!

October 14, 2009

China’s propaganda machine and Internet are once again agog over Premier Wen Jiabao, whose public comforting of Chinese earthquake victims last year cemented his reputation for having a common touch.

China’s Communist Party rarely admits mistakes, but Wen got kudos for facing up to his.

Wen, a trained geologist, mixed up his rock types while giving feedback to a Beijing middle school teacher, who had failed to encourage a student while Wen was sitting in on some classes this weekend.

Xinhua included the mistake when quoting his remarks.

Wen corrected the error and issued a public apology via Xinhua — giving new meaning to the term “official correction.”

But even the apology was not without some spin. The Beijing News said an alert reader had noticed  the error and alerted Xinhua, but the subsequent article by the state news agency said Wen himself had spotted the flub.

File photo: REUTERS/Jason Lee

Post Your Comment

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see