BEIJING - A Chinese government news portal has claimed that a woman in China's remote far west is 127 years old, making her the oldest person ever to have lived -- but experts raised questions over the supposed record Wednesday.
Alimihan Seyiti from Kashgar, near the border with Kyrgyzstan, was born on June 25, 1886, said ts.cn, a government website in Xinjiang -- when Grover Cleveland was president of the United States and William Gladstone the British prime minister.
Chinese longevity records are not generally recognised internationally, as there was no reliable system for certifying most births until after the Communist Party took power in 1949.
At the time of Seyiti's supposed birth much of Xinjiang was ruled by Yakub Beg, a Tajik warlord, while Russia held other parts of the region.
Ts.cn, which cited the little-known Carrying the Flag World Records as its source for her age, said that Seyiti had 56 descendants.
"She likes love songs and can pick up them from TV after hearing them just once," it said.
"She drinks cold water whether in summer or winter and has a big appetite: she can finish a dozen meat buns in one meal or 500g of meat, and sometimes a whole big watermelon.
"She's in good health and can still do housework like making dumplings, looking after children and weaving grass mattress. She likes shopping and going to bazaars."
But Charles Wharton, records manager for the widely respected Guinness World Records organisation in greater China, told AFP: "Currently, we are yet to receive a claim from Alimihan Seyiti."
According to Guinness, he said, the oldest person ever was Jeanne Calment of France, who lived to 122, while the oldest person currently alive was Japan's Misao Okawa, "who is 115 years and 176 days old as of today".
"As we have yet to receive a claim from Mrs Seyiti, we are unable to establish the credibility of her claim," he added. "We do look forward to hopefully receiving a claim from her soon."
On its website, Carrying the Flag World Records showed Seyiti's Chinese identity card, issued in 2009, as purported evidence for her age, and her residency permit, issued earlier this month.
The firm claims to be based in London but the written English on its website is barely comprehensible.
"Carrying the flag World Records is the world's first and only one to the 2012 London Olympics world record world record certificate issued athletes the world record certification organization," it reads in part.
In what appears to be a description of its verification process, it says: "World Records certified organic 999 of its subsequent expansion of the real experts all walks of life."
It adds: "Carrying the flag is the first! Carrying the flag is the only!"
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