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County's post about 'purebred foreigners' deemed mistake

By Tan Zongyang (Xinhua)

08:40, June 06, 2012

Tourism authorities in a small county in Fujian province said on Tuesday that a previous post on the county's micro blog was not meant to be insulting when it referred to a group of French tourists as "purebred foreign people".

On Monday, Jianning county's tourism bureau posted a photo of 12 foreign tourists on Sina Weibo, a popular Chinese social networking site, accompanied by a simple message.

The post said in Chinese that "Jianning county was happy to welcome its first batch of purebred foreign people". The Chinese often use the term "purebred" to describe the lineage of dogs, cats and other animals.

The post, which was considered by some to be offensive, soon attracted the attention of Chinese Internet users.

Many netizens said a government organization shouldn't have committed such an obvious faux pas on its official website, while others joked that they have never seen a "purebred foreigner".

Local tourism authorities said in an apologetic letter on Tuesday that the post was originally written to refer to "a purely foreign tourist group". But the administrator of the website mistakenly added a Chinese character to the statement that changed its meaning, the letter said.

The authorities also deleted the post from the official website.

"We are deeply sorry for the mistake made by our employee, who is a young graduate from college," Wu Shuxian, the head of the tourism bureau in Jianning county, said in a phone interview with China Daily on Tuesday.

Wu said the employee, who manages the website, posted the message in haste, without giving her superiors time to check its content. The employee has also written an apology to the tourists on her own blog.

"We will do more to manage official websites and welcome public scrutiny," Wu said.

Jianning is a remote county in Sanming, Fujian province, which is the cradle of the Minjiang River. The county also contains tourist attractions, including a former residence of Chairman Mao Zedong.

Hu Meidong contributed to the story.

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