By XI MEITI
Western Media Correspondent
BEIJING (China Daily Show) – Attempts by the Chinese government to attain international journalistic credibility by cloning legendary former US reporter Edgar Snow four years ago went horribly awry, according to CIA disclosures yesterday.
The redacted documents refer to a highly confidential 2006 project to replicate various deceased Western journalists who had expressed sympathy for the Chinese Communist Party during its formative years.
But the experiments, which took place in China’s northeast Heilongjiang Province, were said to have misfired badly, with reports of the “Snow 2.0” clone rampaging through Propaganda Bureau offices in search of a 1937 Remington typewriter and attempting to file “hot copy” to US publications that no longer existed.
“Sweetheart, get me a rewrite!” the author of Red Star Over China (1937) reportedly screamed into a telephone on the desk of an uncomprehending female Propaganda Bureau clerk. Her game of Happy Farm was instead interrupted by “a strange foreigner babbling about an exclusive interview with Mao Zedong in something called the ‘Saturday Evening Post’,” according to the report.
Edgar Snow, who died in Geneva in 1972, was an American journalist who achieved “foreign friend” status in China for his flattering portrait of Mao Zedong’s early leadership. He faced growing criticism from Western peers after other works, including 1963’s The Other Side of the River, dismissed the idea of a famine in late-1950s China and increasingly presented a romanticized view of that period. The Great Leap Forward (1959-1961) saw some 70 million Chinese die of starvation as a result of misguided agricultural policies enforced by the government.
Snow 2.0 was reportedly cloned with DNA extracted from remains taken from his grave at Peking University. Its headstone calls Snow “An American friend of the Chinese people, whose feelings he rarely, if ever, hurt.”
The project was part of a long-running experiment that included several failed attempts to reproduce deceased Western Chinese sympathizers, such as Canadian doctor Norman Bethune and US writer Pearl Buck, as well as a panda with “US characteristics.”
A refined version of Thomas Friedman, known as ‘Friedman MK 4,’ was believed a partial success after extensive testing. However, MK 4 then went “seriously off-message” during a mock studio debate about green-energy policy and had to be shot by the host, one of six Tian Wei clones, all believed to be “highly stable, handy with a pistol but otherwise useless.”
“Despite very much effort to bring him into the 21st century, it seems Snow 2.0 was unable to advance anywhere beyond the Long March era,” said Professor Lin Yifan, a former expert at the secretive Cloned Foreign Friends of China Studies department of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, who defected to the US in 2007. Much of the CIA report is based on Lin’s testimony.
“It seems he was very much always wanting to publish interviews and insight regarding old events, and also shamed many when he naughtily referred to both Soong Mayling [Madame Chiang Kai-shek, the Nationalist leader’s wife] and Jiang Qing [Madame Mao] as ‘hot tomatoes with the cat’s pajamas’ with whom he wanted to ‘hold the presses,’” Lin’s testimony concludes.
The Snow clone is no longer believed to exist, having been humanely destroyed after referring to a visiting intelligence officer’s wife as “toots Tantan.”
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