Correcting Some Bogus West Point Mythology

WestPointSealBetter late than never? Maybe.

In 1981, Li Zuhrun, currently a university professor but at that time a reporter for Chinese news agency Xinhua, was duped by an April Fool’s dispatch. According to a bogus item disseminated by UPI, cadets at West Point looked up mightily to Chinese folk hero Lei Feng, revering a hung portrait and the Feng saying, “Human life is limited, but serving the people is limitless.”

All these years later, Zuhrun took to Chinese micro-blogging site Sina Weibo to fully atone for his errant pick-up. From an AFP wire report;

In his posting on Sunday, Zuhrun called his report “one of the biggest mistakes of my life” and said he discovered his error when a Chinese magazine ran a 1997 expose on the issue.

“But I still feel that it was not enough, and I have always wanted to have the chance to cleanse [the rumor] on a wider scale,” he wrote.

As late as 2009, per AFP, the made-up Lei Feng/West Point business was being held up in exemplary fashion by at least one major Chinese politician.

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@hollywoodspin Richard Horgan is co-editor of Fishbowl.