Lots of Chinese bloggers have been pointing out today that the 100 Yuan currency bill has been hiding an adorable cartoon of three cats (shown above). I just grabbed my wallet and took a look, and sure enough, they’re there. The picture on the bottom left above has been edited to make them stand out.
Who knew the Chinese government had a sense of humor? Well, not so fast.
The People’s Bank of China, sensing the danger of appearing quasi-likeable, sought to end the rumors with a non-feline explanation. Apparently the figures were based on abstract decorations found on lacquerware from the Warring States Period (476-221 BC).
“Someone imagined the patterns as three cats and drew the profile with a marker to mislead the public,” the bank said in its statement.
Lesson learned: If you’re going to mislead the public, do not do it in a way that makes Chinese authorities look cool.