'World's sexiest...' polls can often turn up a surprise outside contender, so one might forgive China's state-run newspaper for not questioning a spoof report that hailed the leader of their close ally North Korea as the "Sexiest Man Alive".
The online version of the People's Daily ran a 55-page photo spread in a tribute to round-faced leader Kim Jong Un after US satire site The Onion published the 'official' declaration.
Quoting The Onion's spoof report, the Chinese newspaper 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."
"Blessed with an air of power that masks an unmistakable cute, cuddly side, Kim made this newspaper's editorial board swoon with his impeccable fashion sense, chic short hairstyle, and, of course, that famous smile," the People's Daily cited The Onion as saying.
The photos the People's Daily selected include Kim on horseback squinting into the light and Kim waving toward a military parade. In other photos, he is wearing sunglasses and smiling, or touring a facility with his wife.
It is not the first time a state-run Chinese newspaper has fallen for a fictional report by The Onion.
In 2002, the Beijing Evening News, one of the capital city's biggest tabloids at the time, published as news the fictional account that the US Congress wanted a new building and that it might leave Washington. The Onion article was a deadpan spoof of the way sports teams threaten to leave cities in order to get new stadiums.
In a similar gaffe, Iranian news agency Fars republished an Onion report in September this year saying rural white Americans would rather vote for President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad than Barack Obama.
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