There’s been loads of news lately about fake 100 yuan notes that are supposedly so good that they’re almost indistinguishable from the real thing. The People’s Bank of China has repeatedly said that this is not true and pointed out a number of ways to tell a real note from a fake one. Photographs and diagrams showing people how to do this have been published in the papers and all over the internet. But as far as I can tell, no one’s thought fit to publish this in English. Surely people who don’t read Chinese would like to know too. So, below the fold, I’ve roughly translated the graphics provided by Sina.com.
(CORRECTION: Within minutes of posting this, I discovered the China Daily has already published an English-language diagram. Oh well.)
I take no no responsibility for any violence that might occur when, based on this information, you falsely accuse someone of trying to give you a fake note. If you do find you’ve been ripped off and your money is worthless, all is not lost. You might not be able to spend that fake 100 yuan note, and you can be certain that the bank whose ATM gave you this counterfeit will not refund you, but you can still follow Michael Manning’s instructions and amuse yourself making Happy-Mao and Sad-Mao.
Most of these security features apply to all yuan-denominated notes. Some of them become less distinct, or even non-existent if the note is old and battered. I still prefer to judge by the feel of the note - the distinct roughness of Mao’s jacket.
I think this one’s pretty cool, but the older and more creased the note, the less it works. Real notes can end up looking like the fake one below.