He has spent over a decade writing fake Russian history with over 200 fictional articles, and Wikipedia has just noticed


For more than ten years, a Chinese woman known as “Zhemao” has created a fantastic amount of imaginative and invented alternative history of medieval Russia in Chinese Wikipedia. Jemao also wrote millions of words on Wikipedia about fully formed political figures, counterfeit money mines, wars and war dates and statistics that never happened. Zhemao even went so far as to create complete details of the meanings and common household items of that ancient era. Information that reminds us that everything we read online should not be allowed and that it seriously casts doubt on the credibility of the famous online encyclopedia.

Created the whole reality

A mysterious Chinese Wikipedia contributor, known as “Zhemao”, has spent ten years creating fictional accounts of Russian history, writing more than 200 articles and contributing hundreds more. Wikipedia editors noticed false accounts after ten years of unknowingly hosting their contributions and immediately banned them from the online encyclopedia.

The fabric fabric made by Zhemao itself forms an amazing work, albeit completely invented. Their contributions range from fictional accounts of Slavic rivalries to stories of officials of the Qing dynasty; A striking blend of fantastic fiction and history that deserves a fantasy novel series.

The Chinese Wikipedia entry in “Tver-Moscow war” edited by Zhemao has been deleted. From Wikipedia

Fact check

It is also a colorful reminder that we cannot accept what we read online, especially when it comes to Wikipedia entries whose source is often questionable. And this is particularly relevant in light of China’s troubled history of controlling historical narratives through propaganda. Entries from the Chinese Wikipedia are more detailed than the English Wikipedia and even the Russian Wikipedia, writes the fantasy novelist Ifan, who stumbled upon Zhemao’s contribution to the fictional Wikipedia.

Characters that do not exist in the Anglo-Russian wiki appear on the Chinese wiki, and these characters are mixed with real historical characters, making it impossible to distinguish falsehood from truth, he added.

A Wikipedia investigation has found that one contributor has used at least four puppet accounts since 2010 to disprove the history of the Qing Dynasty and the history of Russia. Each of the four accounts gave credibility to the others. All are now banned from the Chinese Wikipedia.

For more than 10 years, the author has written millions of words on fake Russian history, created 206 articles and contributed hundreds more. He imagined lots of detailed war stories and economic history and weaved real events in boring language enough to fit seamlessly into the encyclopedia. Some netizens call him Borges of China.

He was nicknamed “Jhemao” after a pseudonym. According to the now deleted profile, Jemao is the daughter of a diplomat stationed in Russia, she graduated from Russian history and got Russian citizenship after marrying a Russian.

A map created by Zhemao, has now been removed from Wikipedia.

He began his career in fictional history in 2010, creating articles with fake stories related to the real-life character of Heshen, an official of the notorious King dynasty for corruption. He became interested in Russian history in 2012, replacing existing articles by Tsar Alexander I of Russia. From there, he gradually promoted the fabricated story in Chinese coverage of Wikipedia’s Russian history. He used a real and often bloody rivalry between the first two Slavic states as the basis for a mixture of extensive fiction, research and imagination.

After Wikipedia noticed the rumor, Jema also made a public apology

Jemao also posted a letter of apology on his English Wikipedia account, writing that he was motivated to learn the story. She further writes that she was actually a full-time domestic worker and had only a high school diploma.

Jhemao says he has made most of his fake entries to fill the gaps in his first entries. As the saying goes, if you want to lie, you have to tell more lies. I was reluctant to delete the hundreds of thousands of words I wrote, but as a result, I lost millions of words and a circle of college friends fell apart. The problem I created is hard to undo, so a permanent ban is the only option. My current knowledge is not enough to make a living, so in the future I will learn a business, work honestly and never do such unpleasant things again, ”he wrote.

Although some Wikipedia editors warned that the incident “completely damaged the credibility of the current Chinese Wikipedia”, most netizens welcomed Jemao’s talent and perseverance, encouraging him to publish a novel in the future. As a user on the Weibo microblogging platform writes, it’s really great to invent self-contained historical logic with details like all kinds of clothes, money and utensils.

Since June 17, most fictional historical entries made by Jemao on the Chinese Wikipedia have been removed, according to an official statement. Some entries have been developed by other contributors and remain so. Changes made by Zhemao to other existing entries have been removed, the platform writes.

History leaves us with many questions: What was the real purpose of Jemao? Do fictional stories have real consequences in the real world? Perhaps if Zhemao had chosen another medium to promote his work, today we would have read his historical fiction novels instead of apologizing to Wikipedia.

Source: Wikipedia (1, 2)

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