Why Do People Think That A Fake News Story Is Real?

You would think that The Cardboard Buns Story is decisive and conclusive that the original news story was faked by an overly ambitious and over-reaching reporter.  Unfortunately, some people in China continue to believe that the story was true.  See, for example, 

The belief about the truth in the story was not based solely about contrarian obstinacy and denial.  Here are some examples of the evidence.

If you read The Cardboard Buns Story, then part of the case was based upon the scientific results from experimentation.  Let me quote:

The Beijing city Industry and Commerce Department did not realize at first that this was a false story.  When they did not find a single bun with paper fiber during their inspections, they began to doubt the story.  The Industry and Commerce Department convened a meeting of experts during which the Beijing city Food Safety Monitoring Center and the experts came up with an experiment design.  Professor Chen Min of the Chinese Agricultural University Food Institute organized a simulated experiment.  Based upon the test results, the experts formed the opinions:

(1) It is unlikely that cardboard residuals could be used in the bun fillings.  After steaming, the fillings were loosely packed and did not share the appearance of the regular tightly packed pork fillings; the fillings seemed impossible to chew; the presence of fiber was clearly visible by inspection.  Therefore, consumers will discover the fibers either by taste or sight.  It is unlikely that consumers will accept and eat them.

(2) The experiments showed that if the pork fillings contain so much as five percent cardboard paper, the human eye can detect the presence of fiber material.  Taste tests showed that the buns were impossible to chew.

You can take their word for it.  Or you can do it yourself!  And it really isn't that difficult because all the ingredients are available and it is not rocket science to make steam buns.  As noted in that same story, this was a huge news item in Japan.  A Japanese man has actually gone ahead and replicated the experiment.  Here are the photographs to prove (ChinaDV.com):

Assemble all the raw materials, including the cardboard

Mix the corrosive caustic soda
(the headpiece is to protect against acid fumes)

Place the thick cardboard into the caustic soda

After a while, pour out the liquid

Mince the cardboard with a chopper

Does this look like minced pork meat or what?

Chop the pork meat

Here are the three major ingredients for the filling:
ground pork, ground cardboard and vegetable

Add in the soy sauce and sesame oil for flavor

Stir and mix the ingredients together

Commence to make the buns with the flour dough

The exterior view of the final product

Steam for 12 minutes under intense heat

Does this look like a regular Beijing steam bun?

Another view.

Before eating, drink some vinegar to neutralize the caustic soda.

Ready or not?

Go, go, go !!!

Another line of inquiry has to do with the location as reported in the original Beijing TV Life Channel <Degree of Transparency> news report: Number 13 courtyard in Shizikou village, Taiyanggong town, Chaoyang district.  There is a reason why this location was chosen as opposed to, say, the Forbidden Palace or the Summer Palace.  Would you think that someone might go out and re-examine the location?  Yes, the Ming Pao (Hong Kong) reporter did just that and you will be surprised at what was found (Ming Pao):

Although the Beijing "cardboard buns" were proclaimed to be a fake news item, our reporter went out yesterday to the worksite at Number 13 courtyard in Shizikou village, Taiyanggong town, Chaoyang district and found out that the place was on full alert.  Neighbors said that the place was occupied by small production outfits that made fake tobacco, fake wine, lousy-quality food and lunch boxes.  But since the landlord had good connections at the town government, they always managed to pass inspections.

During the investigation yesterday, our reporter was assaulted by unidentified persons.  When the reporter called the Taiyanggong town government, the official stalled for time while calling the worksite director to warn about snooping reporters.

At the scene yesterday, our reporter observed that there was a high level of security outside number 13 in Shizikou village.  There were uniformed security guards as well as unidentified men keeping watch.

When the reporter asked a cleaner where number 13 was located, the cleaner was immediately warned by a man across the street not to talk.  When the men found out who the reporter was, one of them came up to shove the reporter around while threatening: "If you dare to go in, you better be careful that someone will beat you up."  The reporter called the Taiyanggong town government for assistance.  The town deputy party secretary named Huang said that he does not know about what is happening.  When the reporter asked the town government to send someone as company, the deputy party secretary said that all their party cadres are in meetings and therefore nobody can be dispatched.  He asked the reporter to go by himself.  He said that they would inform the village and the reporter can call the police if he feels that his personal safety is at risk.

When the reporter returned to Number 13 courtyard in Shizikou village, a woman told him that the town leader had just telephoned to warn them not to let any reporter in.

What do you think?  Does something seem rotten over there?