The online version of China's Communist Party newspaper appears to have fallen for a spoof report by The Onion naming North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un as the sexiest man alive, not realising it was a satire.
The People's Daily ran a 55-page photo spread on its website on Tuesday under the headline "North Korea's top leader named The Onion's Sexiest Man Alive for 2012". Quoting The Onion's spoof report, the Chinese paper wrote:
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 55-page special feature, which included dozens of pictures of the dictator in different poses, included quotes from Onion Style and Entertainment editor Marissa Blake-Zweibel, who applauded his 'macho' style:
He has that rare ability to somehow be completely adorable and completely macho at the same time. He’s a real hunk with real intensity who also knows how to cut loose and let his hair down.
Last year the accolade went to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
An online editor for the People's Daily said the photo spread had been removed:
We have realised it is satirical.
The editor, who would not give his name, said the news was picked up from China's state-run Guangming Daily website.
While the People's Daily item was up, The Onion updated the story to post a link to the spread and said:
For more coverage on The Onion's Sexiest Man Alive 2012, Kim Jong-Un, please visit our friends at the People's Daily in China, a proud Communist subsidiary of The Onion, Inc. Exemplary reportage, comrades