Santa Shot Down Over Chinese Airspace

Leading Western diplomats were yesterday locked in heated debate with the Chinese authorities after it was revealed that Santa Claus has been captive in a Beijing prison since December last year.

"We are well within our rights as laid out in international law", said the Chinese ambassador to the U.N. yesterday. "We identified an object violating our airspace on the night of the 24th of December last year. Despite repeated radio warnings, the intruder refused to leave or land, and we were forced to take defensive action".

Santa's vehicle, a painted wooden sleigh, was struck by a barrage of 40mm anti-aircraft flak shells. With the immediate death of seven reindeer (and with Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer severely injured, later to be hunted down and bludgeoned with poles), the vessel was crippled and forced to crash-land, whereupon the pilot was apprehended by Chinese security forces.

Western officials have been assured that St. Nicholas is being treated fairly, but will be held until his trial, scheduled to begin in January 2001. Sources say that "things are not looking good" for the bearded philanthropist.

"Once we learned that this man had been violating our sovereignty at least once a year, we set up a task force to work out how he had repeatedly breached our security", Chinese internal security Chief Shi Sum Ho told a press conference. "We found that the children of several Western families have been in yearly contact with him, and believe that the documents they sent him contained sensitive military data which allowed him to bypass our defences."

These children, currently charged with espionage, have been moved to a secure facility where they face interrogation.


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