China

'Just for fun': People's Daily's sweary New Year puzzle

@PDChina tweets: #newyear2017 Word puzzle just for fun: the first three words you see that might define your 2017. What do you see? Image copyright @PDChina
Image caption Part of the puzzle - you'll have to look online if you want to see the most offensive terms

China's Communist Party's official newspaper, the People's Daily, has been mocked online after posting a obscenity-filled puzzle on its English-language social media accounts.

"NewYear2017 word puzzle just for fun: the first three words you see that might define your 2017. What do you see?" it wrote early on Monday.

"Masturbate", "sucker" and "testicle" were among the more printable obscenities in the puzzle.

The posts were removed later that day.

The online reaction to the puzzle was swift, though it seemed more people were entertained than offended.

Image copyright @EdmondLococo @Chandra461 @flootchy

@Jr_Wang tweeted: "All words I can see are too dirty, my 2017 got ruined," while ‏@pfrrll pointed out "this is pretty lewd, dude" to the people running the accounts.

Theories for the seeming slip ranged from carelessness to unfamiliarity with the English language to employee revenge.

"I think it's a disgruntled foreign 'editor' at the PD office in [Beijing] who hates his job," said @tan_guan on Reddit.

The paper has not responded to BBC requests for comment.

But Hong Kong's South China Morning Post quoted a US-based social media producer for People's Daily as saying it had been posted by an editor who had not checked it

"We cannot combine all the words in the puzzle and see whether it contains improper words before we post it because our time is rather limited," the Post quoted the unnamed producer as saying.

A cached version of the original tweet, which obviously contains offensive language, can be seen online.

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