Here’s the Onion article on Kim Jong Eun that fooled China’s state newspaper

November 27, 2012

The Onion's satirical story on North Korean leader Kim Jong Eun.

The People's Daily, the official newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party, appears to have been fooled by the Onion, a satirical U.S. newspaper and Web site. The People's Daily, a very non-satirical paper with a self-reported circulation of 2.4 million readers, is trumpeting the Onion's announcement that it has selected North Korean dictator Kim Jong Eun as the "sexiest man alive" in 2012.

The People's Daily report includes dozens of photos of steely-eyed Kim alongside quotes from the Onion's clearly unserious declaration that "this Pyongyang-bred heartthrob is every woman’s dream come true." The state-run newspaper reproduces almost the entire Onion article, apparently unaware that it's a joke meant to mock, rather than celebrate, this Chinese ally.

China blog Beijing Cream refers to the Chinese outlet as a "lovable klutz" for this goof. "People’s Daily: once again proving there’s no need for satire when you are your own parody." The Onion's article lists past "sexiest man alive" winners as including Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad and "Unabomber" Ted Kaczynski.

The Onion's story is displayed above. Below is a screenshot of the homepage of the much-read People's Daily, which as of this writing still includes a prominent link to the Kim "sexiest man" story. The teaser is illustrated with a Time magazine cover image of Kim, which reads "LIL KIM." The February cover story (it was featured on the covers of all editions -- except Time Asia) described Kim's North Korea in consistently negative terms.


A screenshot of the English site for the People's Daily newspaper.
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Max Fisher · November 27, 2012