The Chinese Communist Party mouthpiece People’s Daily published a 55-page article that cited The Onion satirical website, which said North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is the “Sexiest Man Alive for the year 2012.”
As of Tuesday, the People’s Daily website had not taken the 55-page photo montage down, apparently not realizing that it had erred in publishing information from a satire website. The People’s Daily—the flagship newspaper of the Communist Party—commonly features positive news about North Korea and its leader Kim Jong Un.
“With his devastatingly handsome, round face, his boyish charm, and his strong, sturdy frame, this Pyongyang-bred heartthrob is every woman’s dream come true,” the Daily said, citing The Onion article, which was spoofing People magazine articles that commonly feature actors and pop singers.
“He has that rare ability to somehow be completely adorable and completely macho at the same time,” it quoted Marissa Blake-Zweiber, the fictitious editor of The Onion Style and Entertainment section, as saying.
The Daily’s slideshow has photos of the 29-year-old authoritarian leader riding a horse, holding a sniper rifle while looking through its scope, greeting crowds of clapping communist North Korean cadres, riding on a large golf cart, and others.
The Onion article first appeared on its website on Nov. 14 and on Tuesday, published an update which reads: “Please visit our friends at the People’s Daily in China, a proud Communist subsidiary of The Onion, Inc.”
The satire website also listed Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, “Unabomber” Ted Kaczynski, convicted Ponzi scheme mastermind Bernie Madoff, and several others as prior winners of its fictitious prize.
It was not the first time Chinese media fell for articles published by the parody publication.
In 2002, the Beijing Evening News reported a spoof story carried by The Onion that suggested the U.S. Congress would leave Washington, D.C., unless a new Capitol building is built, parodying articles about sports teams that demand cities to build new stadiums.
And in September, the Iranian semi-official Fars News Agency copied a report from The Onion that said rural white Americans would prefer to vote for Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad over President Barack Obama. It eventually issued an apology.
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