Reporter Arrested For Faking Cardboard Bun Story

Chinese authorities have arrested a Beijing TV reporter for “faking” the cardboard bun story, according to the AP. The report by Beijing TV claimed that an unlicensed snack vendor had been serving buns filled with cardboard softened with caustic soda and flavored with pork.

Chinese authorities say the reporter fabricated the report in order to get “higher audience ratings” on Chinese State TV. From the AP:

Beijing authorities said investigations had found that an employee surnamed Zi had fabricated the report to garner “higher audience ratings”, the China Daily said on Thursday.

“Zi had provided all the cardboard and asked the vendor to soak it. It’s all cheating,” the paper quoted a government notice as saying.

A city-wide inspection of steamed bun vendors in the wake of the report had found no such cases, the paper said.

`He used deceptive means to get the footage on the air,” said news anchor Wang Ye, without giving specifics. “The Beijing Public Security Bureau has taken the criminal suspect, Zi, into custody and he will be severely dealt with according to law.”

No one is saying what the law is, and no one seems to have any idea what will happen to “Zi.”

Beijing Cardboard-Stuffed Buns a Hoax [Guardian] (Thanks, Ian!)
China reporter held over cardboard-in-buns story [CNN]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Falconfire says:

    well if its anything like what they did to their own government official in charge of overseeing this crap, he’s going for a date with a gun, or a needle if he is really lucky (since rarely do Chinese use needles for executions. Gun shot to the back of the head is the preferred method.)

    The sad fact is, Im next to positive that said reporter didnt fake it. The Chinese are well known to pull this kind of crap with food. You have little further to look than in all the mass produced ways they have made century eggs to see the extend of how far they will go in fucking up the human body with chemicals.

  2. Pelagius says:

    China has a long history of locking up whistleblowers. This all stinks of a pre-2008 Olympics cover-up to me.

  3. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    I also think there is a strong chance the reporter didnt fake this story. How does ratings and such work on State TV? Would it really to him any good to fake something like this?

  4. Detective Bunk says:

    Any bets that this WAS true and the Chinese are trying to spin it? I bet the vendor won’t be found again, either.

  5. obbie says:

    prolly execution

  6. Cowboys_fan says:

    Fake or not, did he not still eat it? If its not true now, it will be soon.

  7. not_seth_brundle says:

    No matter what really happened, it says a lot about our perception of China that people didn’t hesitate to believe the original story and, what’s more, people are inclined now to believe that it was true and that the government is trying to cover it up.

  8. elf6c says:

    Sweet sweet poison train coverup action. Plus bonus media suppression points.

  9. Pelagius says:

    Check out this article – “Safety Falters As Chinese Quiet Those Who Cry Foul”

  10. he will be forced to become a contestant in next season’s filming of “Most Extreme Elimination Challenge”

  11. superbmtsub says:

    Even the US Govt tries to quiet whistle blowers. For China, this is nothing new and quite obviously the commie govt is pullin their PR strings with the Olympics around the corner.

  12. miburo says:

    Before we say its a cover up (and believe me, I’m one of those people that would love to prove that China does unlawful coverups ALL the time) Has anyone actually tried to see if this is even possible?

    Eventhough media is state regulated, High ratings = better job or more pay for anyone anywhere, whether censored or not.

  13. Shadowman615 says:

    @not_seth_brundle: This is a country that *arrests* reporters who are accused of reporting false information. And executes government officials for taking bribes. And likes to exercise strict control over what its citizens can read in the newspapers or on the internet.

    Why should the Chinese government have any credibility in this story?

  14. exkon says:

    China just created its own scapegoat.

  15. gruffydd says:

    Is there anywhere to get a list of packaged foods made in China and sold in the US?

  16. pintucked says:

    Death by forced eating of cardboard buns.

    On a similar note, my lunch for today is a pork bun. But it was made in San Francisco and not filled with soaked cardboard. Whew!

  17. Raanne says:

    China’s standards for inside of china, are very different than their standards for export. I’d say there is a 50/50 chance it is true. China food scandals (internal to china) have been making a lot of news this year (again – not talking about what is exported, just what is inside of china – and thus i am talking about news reports inside of china)- it is very possible that the reporter was trying to jump on the bandwagon of hot news, in order to get his name out there.

  18. strathmeyer says:

    This seems easy enought to prove: can somebody get their hands on some cardboard laced buns or not?

  19. not_seth_brundle says:

    @Shadowman615: I knew my comment would be interpreted that way. As I said, “no matter what really happened”… in fact, you can count me among the skeptics. I just think it’s an interesting commentary, that’s all.

  20. ironchef says:

    the food in my old high school tasted like cardboard. Does that count?

  21. ARPRINCE says:

    Spin control at the very least.

  22. miborovsky says:

    Well. There are some unscrupulous Chinese people who make make food. It goes without saying that there are unscrupulous Chinese people who make fake news. I wouldn’t be surprised if this were true.

  23. bluemeep says:

    Pork buns are made of cardboard. McNuggets are made of corn and butane. Same garbage, different country.

  24. Insightful says:

    The McNuggets are made of corn and butane story has been debunked. The original article counted chicken and chicken broth as all derived from corn since their main diet is corn. And the so-called “butane” refers to TBHQ (which is a phenol and unrelated to an alkane). One can easily search “TBHQ and toxicology” and find for yourself it is safe to use at the level used in food preparation.

    I am not advocating adding a sprinkle of TBHQ to your meal everyday. I try to eat all natural when I can but it is factually incorrect to say every food addictive is bad.

  25. mrmysterious says:

    Remember this is the same country that makes fake eggs.

  26. Trai_Dep says:

    Too bad the Chinese miscreats weren’t TOTALLY hot, uniformed schoolboys and girls. Because instead of a bullet, they could go all Battle Royale just in time for the Beijing Olympics. Except that everyone would pirate the broadcast.

  27. DCvision says:

    so… whistle blowers in china get a gun in the whistle… important safety tip!

  28. TechnoDestructo says:


    The FDA guy was responsible for a lot more food than one street vendor. I don’t think even China would execute someone over this.

    The only possible reason I can think of is how much one street vendor pulling something like this could hurt every other street vendor during the Olympics.


    If that’s the case, I’m not sure the Chinese government really understands how public opinion works.

  29. nequam says:

    @miborovsky: Maybe the buns were made with fake cardboard. And maybe the fake cardboard was made out of pork. That way, both the reporter and the government are correct.

  30. superbmtsub says:

    @TechnoDestructo: The Chinese govt understands how public opinion works. That’s how they get away with being the worlds largest violator of human rights.

    Listen you ignoramus! Public opinions dont count in a Communist state. Not when you have guns pointing to your head the moment you try to think outside the box or question authority.

    Try watching some documentaries on the cruelty of the Chinese government on their own citizens. It’s free to view on the public access channels.

  31. shoegazer says:

    @mrmysterious: Oh you mean these fake eggs? If you like, I have some soy sauce made from hair to sell you too.

  32. shoegazer says:

    Oh and I love all these posts about how oppressive the Chinese government is and how it stifles dissent by creating an atmosphere of fear, misinformation and distrust. After all, “you’re either with us or against us.” Right?

  33. andrewsmash says:

    When did the Chinese government let Rupert Murdoch start running its Information Ministry? This sounds very Fox News’ish. I’ll bet the reporter was sent on vacation so they could fill screen time with more ‘breaking updates’ about this critical story.

  34. plluke says:

    I wonder if some of the above commenters have lived in China or have done actual research about the situation there. It’s easy to go with the party line and think of China as a monolithic commie state violating everyone’s rights but it’s simply not true to the extent that some commenters here are asserting. I often hear about how “Communist China” is doing this and that so let’s just get this straight:

    1) China isn’t actually Communist and never was. Calling it communist is inane. Criticize specific policies or attitudes. Don’t mess up Marx’s ideas like Mao did.

    2) China is undergoing more rapid change than what most other nations could possibly imagine so sticking to the old McCarthy era image isn’t really very accurate.

    3) There are good and bad parts of China just as there are good and bad parts of the US. Don’t make the mistake of using the part to stand in for the whole. It’s not like the US is an example of moral purity either. (Though it’s certainly easier to be right when you’ve got the power.)

    Having said all that, to a Chinese person (and especially a resident of a big city), it is equally appalling and possible that somebody might substitute cardboard for meat and that somebody might fake a story about it. If you think about it, it’s just pure capitalism at work in both cases. What China lacks is a well-enforced system based upon higher ethical standards, a luxury of more economically healthy systems. The disparity between the rich and the poor means that it is still a bit of a class struggle: faced with new possibilities of capitalism, the poor will do what it thinks it can do to get richer. Until China establishes a broader middle class, this kind of corruption will continue to happen.

    I’ve lived in China, visit regularly, and I’ve spoken with many residents there. And frankly, a lot of them would scoff at the kind of narrow mindedness that can exist here in the states. They fully acknowledge the faults of their system an there are many who are trying to make the country better for everyone. What is worse, to them, is a group of people who aren’t humbly aware of their own faults and many in the US often fall into this pattern.

    So here we go:
    Most Extreme Elimination Challenge is Japanese, not Chinese.

    He’s not going to be executed. That’s just a fantasy of those who have an interest in demonizing China. Even the Chinese government has a basic handle on publicity and mass perception (see below).

    Yes, the Beijing Olympics is important: it’s going to make the government crack down on things, even if only for the next couple of years.

    Public opinion DOES count. China is moving slowly towards a capitalist economy and even a “communist” government needs money. Just because they’re old school doesn’t mean they’re stupid: the Chinese government knows where the money is and so they MUST care about public opinion and support to a certain degree. Want proof? Look at what the communist party did to Shanghai when they took over. Here’s a hint: not much. Shanghai was providing way too much money and supplies to the rest of the country to be subject to very much destruction and reformation. Money talks, even (especially) during the rule of the communist party.

    Yes, the Chinese government cheats and lies. And the US government is clean?

    The Chinese are not “well known to pull this kind of crap with food.” Whoever made that comment is only jumping on the bandwagon of the most recent food scandals. The Chinese LOVE food. But there will be a subset of any population, even Chinese, who find profit more important than food. Should they be punished? Of course. Does that mean all 1.4 billion Chinese are like that? Don’t be stupid. If one thinks like that, then I shudder to think what Americans are like when its LEADER is waging wars based on deception and, God forbid, FAITH. But that’s a different discussion.

  35. nidolke says:

    Aww, and after I already told someone about this. Now I’m a liar.

  36. Tedinasia says:

    PLLUKE, well said… As an expat resident over here for the last 16+ years all I can add is that yes, cultures are different, but more like then dislike. We have our good and bad, just as you do back in the states. As for a story like this, I would have to err on the side that it is fake, “Streetfood” sellers covet their locations and the competition is fierce, there are enough other vegetable fillers that are easier / cheaper then taking the time to soak cardstock in chemicals… And street justice by the local consumers would make the government punishment mild by comparison.

  37. Soldier_CLE says that Hideo Kojima has to make MGS till the day he dies! says:


    “In ‘Motherland China’, cardboard bun eats you!”

  38. ibelli says:

    He’s a gonner.