Supervision of China's Tencent Web portal tightened after Xi Jinping-related typo

In an article about a keynote speech given by Chinese President Xi Jinping during the 95th anniversary celebration of the ruling Communist Party, which took place on July 1, someone at Tencent mistyped a character in the phrase "Xi Jinping delivered
In an article about a keynote speech given by Chinese President Xi Jinping during the 95th anniversary celebration of the ruling Communist Party, which took place on July 1, someone at Tencent mistyped a character in the phrase "Xi Jinping delivered an important speech". A character in the word "deliver" was swapped for a similar-sounding one that changed the meaning to "violently flip out".PHOTO: DWNEWS.COM
Visitors use their smartphones underneath the logo of Tencent in Beijing, on May 6, 2014.
Visitors use their smartphones underneath the logo of Tencent in Beijing, on May 6, 2014.PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING (AFP) - China's communist authorities have moved supervision of Tencent Web, one of the country's biggest online media portals, to the capital after it published a one-character typo related to President Xi Jinping, Hong Kong media reports said.

In an article about a keynote speech given by Xi during the 95th anniversary celebration of the ruling Communist Party, which took place on July 1, someone at Tencent mistyped a character in the phrase "Xi Jinping delivered an important speech", Hong Kong's Ming Pao newspaper said.

A character in the word "deliver" was swapped for a similar-sounding one that changed the meaning to "violently flip out", it claimed, citing a screenshot of the report.

The slip-up prompted China's Central Publicity Department to launch an investigation into Tencent Web over what it deemed a "significantly negative incident", the paper said.

The probe concluded that the online portal must now be overseen by the stricter Beijing Cyberspace Administration Office, rather than the equivalent body in the southern city of Shenzhen, where Tencent is headquartered, the South China Morning Post (SCMP) newspaper said.

The portal's editor-in-chief, Wang Yongzhi, did not confirm reports of his dismissal to the SCMP.

The Communist Party tolerates no opposition to its rule and newspapers, websites, and broadcast media are strictly controlled. An army of censors patrols social media and many Western news websites are blocked.

The country has imposed ever-tighet restrictions on freedom of speech since Xi became president in 2013.

Reports about the Tencent typo were censored on the mainland internet.

This was not the first media gaffe linked to Xi.

In March, the official Xinhua news agency also made a one-character typo about the president, referring to him as China's "last leader" instead of "top leader".

Last year, four journalists at China News Service were suspended from their jobs over an article that, due to two mistaken characters, referred to Xi Jinping's "resignation", rather than a speech he'd given.