China Decrees All Sesame Street Episodes Must Include Chinese Lessons

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BEIJING – Chinese officials were surprised to learn Thursday morning that their indirect funding of PBS grants them the power to determine the content of Sesame Street episodes. Mitt Romney alerted the world to this fact during Wednesday night’s presidential debate, when he promised, “I will eliminate all programs that don’t pass this test: is the program so critical it’s worth borrowing money from China to pay for it? I’m sorry, Jim, I’m going to stop the subsidy to PBS. I like PBS, I love Big Bird. I actually like you, too.”

As a result of this revelation, future episodes of Sesame Street will include a 15-minute Chinese lesson, which will quickly progress from Nǐ hǎo (“hello”) and instructions on how to use chopsticks in the first week, to Yī dǎng zhì de guójiā bǎozhàng fánróng (“a single-party state guarantees prosperity”) and a detailed guide to foot binding in the tenth week.

This aggressive learning curve is due to the threat to PBS funding introduced by Governor Romney. In the same statement that notified China of its control over PBS and its content, the presidential candidate vowed to end Chinese influence on such programs. “We’re not willing to assume that Obama will win the American election, allowing us indefinite influence in making American children receptive to our infallible Chinese principles,” stated Cai Wu, China’s Minister of Culture, as he outlined three months of lessons in a news conference. “We’re going to do as much as we can now.”

Jim Lehrer, meanwhile, is still recovering from the embarrassment he suffered at Romney’s declaration of affection. So much blood rushed to his face that he was rendered incapable of effectively moderating the debate for the remainder of the evening.

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