That Chinese Passport "Ruined By A Four-Year-Old Boy's Drawing" Is Fake

If it's happening in Asia, it must be true, right? Like the Chinese kid who scribbled on his dad's passport. The story floating around says a four-year-old apparently drew all over his dad's passport, making it impossible for the father to board a plane out of South Korea.

Cover image via

Apparently, a four-year-old child drew all over his dad’s passport, preventing him from boarding a plane back to China from South Korea. Here is the said passport:

Image via

According to reports in China, the boy used his unfortunate father’s passport as a colouring book during a family trip to South Korea. The man’s face was given dark eyes and a large beard and drawings of animals and scribbles appeared all over the official document.

He was reportedly stuck in South Korea because officials would not accept the “unrecognisable” identification. A picture was originally posted on Chinese social networking site Weibo by a person claiming to be the father, known as Chen, with a plea for help.

However, Kotaku’s Brian Ashcraft questions "do those doodles actually look like the work of a four-year-old?"

As someone with numerous children, I can quickly point out that, at least in my experience, four-year-olds don't draw that well. And look how small this flower is. I have a difficult time believing that a four-year old's motor skills would be up to snuff, unless the child was advanced for his or her age.

Image via

Kotaku’s Brian Ashcraft points to a teeny tiny flower doodled toward the bottom right-hand side of the passport, questioning whether someone so young would have the motor skills to achieve such a wee drawing.

But there are more alarm bells. For example, if a child so young drew on the passport, there should be smearing, because, as evident in the image below, Chinese passports, like most passports, have a coat of gloss over the page with the photo, name, and passport number. The reason for this gloss, of course, is that this page needs to be slid through scanners, and the thin coat would logically cause smearing if a young child was writing on it, as well as odd ink bleeds.
Image via

"Fake," writes GAF member Bloodforge. "Notice on the right side the pen marking goes off the passport and floats in the air."

Image via

Closer examination of the markings reveals that the "ink" remains constant in thickness. If you've ever dealt with MS Paint, these lines should be familiar. Also, the perspective of the scribbles is entirely flat—there isn't depth to them, and they are unaffected by both the lighting and the orientation of the paper.

Brian further points out that it's quite odd that the passport's key points of identification have been either doodled over or crossed out

Image via

It seems almost too convenient that the man’s name, signature, passport number and its code have been scribbled out while other details are unobscured.

And to support his theory, Brian uses other unrelated copies of passport to show how many of the key ID points on them are blurred out to protect their identity

In the unrelated photo below, many of the key i.d. points on this man's passport are blurred out to protect his identity.

Image via

On Wiki, notice how the same sections are blurred out.

Image via

I guess we're to assume that if this is not a hoax, then the kid just accidentally drew over these key identifying elements—or maybe the father defaced his own passport after the kid drew on it so it could be uploaded to the internet? We're getting in super thin territory here.

But, where did the story originate from?

In the middle of last month, the above image apparently popped up on China's social networking platform Weibo, and then Chinese websites. From there, it's spread to the Western media, which increasingly seems disinterested in seeing if these stories pass the smell test.

Still, if you want to believe this is the real deal, here's where things get really interesting:

Back in January in China, there was a story about a five-year-old child who did scribble all over a parent's passport, invalidating it. (The travel in this story also involved South Korea. What a coincidence!) But, instead of a black ink pen, this kid used a crayon—you know, as kids do.

Here's what that five-year-old's drawing looked like:

Image via

Notice that it looks like an actual child's drawing? And that you can see reflected ink in the crayon? The story was widely reported in the Chinese media. This might be a hoax—or rather, propaganda. The articles at that time mentioned how important it was to properly care of one's passport. Whatever it was, this several-month-old doodle certainly looks more realistic than the current scribbles making the rounds online recently.

In the end, it’s up to you to decide either way. Meanwhile, here are some myth busting stories on SAYS:

You may be interested in: