Bogus bun scandal

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It turns out that the cardboard bun scandal–the sensational story that’s had people talking (and cracking jokes, ie “I always thought those lamb skewers tasted a little funny”) over the last few weeks–was an elaborate hoax concocted by a freelance TV reporter in Beijing.

This AP story says that an investigation determined that the reporter, whose last name is Zi, gathered meat, flour and cardboard and convinced four migrant workers to make the buns while he filmed them. Beijing Television (BTV) apologized on-air Wednesday night, and said that the reporter had been detained by police. The station also said it would punish the editors of the program, and take steps to improve its ethical standards.

Though the reporter claimed to have obtained the footage with a hidden camera, I still found it a bit suspect that a food vendor would openly admit to using 60 percent cardboard and 40 percent pork in his buns. And why would the vendors demonstrate the toxic cardboard-soaking process in front of any patrons? It seems that, in the midst of the China food scare, many people wanted to believe this was true.