His tricks slipped through the cracks for more than ten years. As reported in an article on the Chinese site Sixth Tone, spotted by Courrier international, a contributor to Yifan, the Chinese version of Wikipedia, has let her creative spirit speak by writing more than 200 articles in which she falsifies the course of the history of the Qing dynasty but also from Russia.

Claiming to be the daughter of a diplomat stationed in Russia, holder of a degree in Russian history but also holder of Russian nationality after her marriage, the Internet user, known under the pseudonym of “Zhermao”, was ready to everything to make his profile credible. For a decade, she thus deceived many readers through the four different accounts she used, who sought to give credit to each other. The editor notably invented from scratch war chronicles, economic stories and imaginary places, which in reality never existed.

It was by discovering that the articles in Chinese were much more extensive than their equivalents in Russian that the management team of Yifan had the flea in the ear. While digging, they also found a glaring lack of referencing on the majority of the articles to unearth what some Chinese are already calling “one of the biggest hoaxes in the history of Wikipedia”.

In an open letter, “Zhermao” apologized to platform users and revealed that she is actually just a high school graduate stay-at-home mom. Passionate about history, she explains that she fell into an addictive cycle where she sought to add more and more invented elements in her contributions.

While some netizens have highlighted “Zhermao’s” writing skills, advising her of a second life as an author, others have castigated her dishonesty and questioned the credibility of the Chinese version of Wikipedia.