Forget Channing Tatum: Korean dictator Kim Jong Un is the sexiest man of 2012, according to the Chinese Communist Party mouthpiece People’s Daily — and the satirical news site The Onion.
The website of the paper of record for China’s authoritarian ruling party regularly features positive reports on its even more authoritarian neighbor, North Korea, and its 28-year old leader Kim Jong Un. This time, however, People’s Daily editors may have been a bit too eager to please.
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“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 People’s Daily quoted from the fictitious report, going on to add this line, by the (also fictitious) Onion Style and Entertainment editor Marissa Blake-Zweibel: “He has that rare ability to somehow be completely adorable and completely macho at the same time.”
The People’s Daily story was accompanied by a massive slideshow of Kim seen riding a horse, waving to troops, sporting a straw hat, hugged by a dozen female soldiers and even on the cover of TIME.
A journalist named Zhang Qian, who appears to have been the translator and editor of the story, last prepared a slideshow of the North Korean dictator and his wife Ri Sol Ju watching a women’s volleyball match in early November.
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After The Onion found out about the People’s Daily story, it updated its original article with this text:
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.
Earlier in September, the Iranian state-run news agency Fars also took an an article by The Onion too seriously. According to a bogus Gallup poll, the article read, “rural white Americans would rather vote for Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad than for Barack Obama.”
In China, the Beijing Evening News jumped on another Onion article in 2002, which stated that Congress threatened to leave Washington D.C. unless the city agreed to build it a new Capitol.