So, I think I was plagiarized… by China.

Five days ago, I wrote this post — White House Petition to Make Lunar New Year a Recognized Federal Holiday in Schools — responding to someone who started a White House petition to… well, you can read that post title yourself. In it, I expressed reservations about making Lunar New Year a federal holiday, but argued instead that the sentiment of the petition was best served through action at the local or state-wide level.

The petition and its topic have been making its rounds of the Asian American blogosphere, and yesterday, Grace Hwang Lynch posted her own support of the petition and its goal to BlogHer. In it, she cited, a major Chinese news site, whose English language version had also posted an article critical of the petition. Grace quoted Sina as saying:

One could argue that Easter, Passover, and even Ramadan are often recognized by school districts, and that the first two reflect a strong Judeo-Christian bias in the holidays school districts observe. And they would be true. Certainly, there is room for argument that school districts with high East Asian populations should reflect that constituency by observing Lunar New Year and not penalizing their students for taking those days off. But that is an issue to take to a local school board, not the desk of the president.

…. except that was me. All of those words — all of them — were written by me. This is my original post, and the paragraph in question is fourth from the bottom. When I checked out the source article from Sina, I found that my entire post, including title and header image, were lifted word-for-word from my blog, but then attributed to Sina and/or “Agencies”. More gallingly, it was a sloppy plagiarism job. My post ends with a link to the White House petition; Sina chose to edit that out. But, instead of replacing that final sentence clause with something that, y’know, completes the sentence, they chose to delete the petition link, and leave the article hanging with a half a sentence closer.

(Incidentally, my post was published on February 4th at 3:49 GMT. Sina’s post has a timestamp saying it was published on February 5th at 3:57 GMT.)

Now, don’t get me twisted. This is the Internet, and plagiarism is rampant. Hell, I didn’t exactly take that header picture of the dragon that features so prominently on the post; I grabbed it from a quick Google image search. I didn’t exactly post it sourced.

But that being said, there’s something a little disturbing to me about being so thoroughly and unabashedly plagiarized. I mean, I wrote that stuff. All those shares that Sina got for that article? Shouldn’t those be mine?

On the other hand, I guess I’m also a little flattered. Don’t they say that imitation is the highest form of flattery? Doesn’t this imply that the stuff I’m writing is, I dunno, “plagiarism-worthy”? I guess this now puts me in the same boat of other people who have their content unabashedly stolen by the Internets. And, if that includes the awesome creator of The Oatmeal, than I guess I’m in good company.

Folks with more blogosphere/litigation savvy, any thoughts? Because, I’m guessing that the best I’m going to get out of this whole thing is the (admittedly kind of fun) chance to say I was plagiarized… by China.

Update: Thanks to Grace for updating her BlogHer post!

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