Images of the ‘straddling bus’ from China went viral this week, and it’s not hard to see why – it’s a Willy Wonka-style solution to the country’s monumental traffic issues. Unfortunately it’s about as real as Wonka too.

State-backed-media have come out to poke holes in the project in a no-holds-barred attack that discredits everything from the bus’ design to the engineer’s primary school education.

According to the People’s Daily, authorities in Qinghuangdao city had no idea the public bus test was being conducted, and the trial was recorded as an “internal test.” State-backed Global Times added to the project’s PR woes with an editorial smearing the project’s investor, and heralding it the next major P2P investment scam.

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Cate Cadell

Cate is a tech writer. She worked as a journalist in Australia, Mongolia and Myanmar. You can reach her (in Chinese or English) at: @catecadell or catecadell@technode.com