The Chinese government has been cracking down on “online rumours” since 2013. Now, there is a fresh target-a teen dropout who pretended to be a billionaire.
The 17-year-old, named Shi Runlong, on social media and claimed to be a Chinese New Zealander from Hong Kong, is under investigation for spreading “fake news” after claiming to be a billionaire and posting Photoshopped images of himself with world leaders including Donald Trump and Barack Obama.
The Chinese official media “Xinhua news” agency also said it had discovered a fake article claiming to be from Xinhua that portrayed Shi as a poverty alleviation hero. What’s even worse, the fake news was also quoted by other famous Chinese media, such as “Global Times”, “The Beijing News” and “People’s Daily Online”.
“Shi paid someone to write the fake articles and photoshop fake pictures online,” police said in a statement on Weibo.
Shi went viral on Chinese social media websites after his faked identity was exposed.
Police in northern China’s Shandong province are investigating this case, saying that Shi released the articles to “satisfy his vanity”.
According to Reuters, Shi had amassed an estimated 10,000 followers on the Twitter-like platform before his account was shut down.
It is unclear whether Shi is detained or not, but his skill of making fake photos is teased by many netizens both in China and Taiwan. “It’s really funny that someone would ever believe in these rough photos”, “even my skill of photo manipulation could be better than him”, said some internet users