By QUANPAN FOUREN & BU SHIWO
SHANGHAI (China Daily Show) – A new answering-service from the Chinese government has already issued a series of firm denials, sources confirmed yesterday.
Reporters who dial the Ministry of National Defense, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Hacking are now greeted with an electronic message, asking them to press a specified button to direct their inquiry.
“Press One if your call concerns ‘purchase of organs harvested from executed criminals,’ Two for ‘mysterious deaths linked to Chinese-owned tech firm abroad,’ Three for ‘kid got crushed by official,’ Four for ‘inexplicably banned from Twitter…” the 47-minute message begins.
The pre-recorded list, described as “fairly comprehensive,” offers some 400 different options, including number 72 – “just had servers compromised by hackers located in Chinese military academy or otherwise.”
Despite the wide variety of queries offered, though, users say the machine’s response is exactly the same every time.
“China is a country under rule of law and the government does not support, nor sponsor, any kind of activity that might be considered newsworthy,” the automated response patiently intones. “Logically, to suggest otherwise is neither professional, nor consistent with the facts.”
Foreign media agree that the new service is both “useful” and “saves time.”
“We understand that bad things do often happen to good people,” the automated message concludes sympathetically. “So for further information, please press One to be directed to the US Embassy.”