Rea blamed the "pervasive plagiarism of foreign news outlets in the Chinese official news media, combined with shoddy quality control or fact checking."
Is there a serious lesson to be learned here?
"The primary lesson that all journalists -- not just Chinese -- should draw from this is that all information needs to be verified before it is published," said Richard Hornik, a lecturer in journalism at Stony Brook University, who once covered China for Time Magazine.
"Since new media such as Weibo, Facebook and Twitter have made all of us publishers in the digital era, all responsible citizens should verify information before they publish, forward, 'like' or retweet it."
How embarrassed should the People's Daily be?
"Extremely," quipped Jaivin. "That said, I do hope no one gets sent to a labor camp over it."