The old cut-and-paste technique works well in kindergarten classrooms and papier mache projects, but doesn’t transfer so smoothly to Photoshop — as officials from the Zhejiang Hangzhou Yuhang government recently discovered. On May 9, the official government website carried an innocuous announcement about the completion of a landscaping project — accompanied by a blatantly re-edited photo of government officials ‘inspecting’ the park. The sheer awfulness of the work — one man’s legs appear to blend into the shrubbery; another floats in midair several inches above a brick pathway; none of the group appear to be casting shadows — met a mixture of indignation and amusement among Chinese netizens.
According to China Smack, the government website posted an apology letter a week after the incident:
May 9th, my company submitted the news manuscript of the “Completion and Transfer of the Green Landscaping Project of Nanhu Beach Park” to the Yuhang District Government Portal Website, along with photographs of technicians on location conducting inspections. Due to unsuitable work processes, there were serious mistakes in the uploaded photograph. With regards to the errors of our work, we deeply express our apologies: We sincerely accept the criticizes of the netizen masses, and wholeheartedly appreciate the concern netizens have given us.
But that wasn’t enough to keep these “air walking” inspectors from going viral and inspiring a new round of Internet memes, some of which look more realistic than the original image.
It’s not the first time this has happened, either: last June, the Huili county government met backlash after posting an undeniably Photoshopped photo of Chinese officials ‘inspecting’ a new road. And last November, in the wake of Typhoon Nesat, the Philippines government published an image of three officials discussing the typhoon’s damage in the middle of a crumbling street in Manila. As it turns out, the officials had been photoshopped into the disaster zone. Since the discovery, the trio has teleported from the typhoon wreckage to the Last Supper and all the way to Abbey Road.