Thursday, January 10, 2008

Rand McNally would be proud

To anyone who is even slightly familiar with China, they will know that the Chinese media does not exactly follow what we would call in the West "professional journalism". News reports are often inaccurate or downright biased, facts are rarely checked, and the government's censorship is legendary.

Even given those realities, this following story surprised me greatly and drew quite a chuckle.

I was sitting in the office a few days ago and noticed my staff Zhang Wei was watching CCTV news on his computer. It was a story about the Iraq war. Suddenly, Zhang Wei cracks up laughing... laughing so hard he was almost in tears. When I asked him what it was, he paused the video on the map showing Iraq, Kuwait, and Iran.

He asked me if I recognized the map.

I stared at it for a while and said it did look strange, but I did not recognize it.

He then opens up the popular online game World of Warcraft, a highly popular MMORPG (massive multiplayer online role playing game), and scrolls to the maps section.

CCTV News had taken a map from World of Warcraft, roughly shaped like the Middle East, and written in the names Iraq, Kuwait, and Iran.

The map even still had the cartoon mountains drawn in where Turkey should be.