BEIJING -- Who says the Chinese Communist Party doesn't have a sense of humor? People's Daily, the party's official mouthpiece, ran a large feature on its website yesterday on North Korea's young leader, Kim Jong Un, being named The Onion's "Sexiest Man Alive."
The People's Daily didn't seem to realize that The Onion is a satirical newspaper. Instead, in breathless deadpan style, the People's Daily quoted The Onion's assessment of Kim's sexiness.
"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 Web article, headlined "North Korea's top leader named The Onion's Sexiest Man Alive for 2012," was accompanied by 55 pages of photographs, the first one a recently released shot of Kim on horseback.
Kim, a pudgy young man in his late 20s, took over as North Korea's leader last December after the death of his father, Kim Jong Il. The Chinese Communist Party maintains close ties with Pyongyang's ruling Workers' Party.
Even without help from The Onion, People's Daily frequently runs features about North Korea so fawning as to suggest parody.
It's not the first time the Chinese state media have been fooled by a spoof in The Onion. In 2002, a satire suggesting that the U.S. Congress would leave Washington, D.C., if it didn't get a better building was reported as a straight news story by the Beijing Evening News.