Kim Jong Un wins 'Sexiest Man Alive': How The Onion tricked a Chinese newspaper

The Week's Editorial Staff
The Week

The North Korean dictator wins the satirical paper's dubious distinction... but not everyone was in on the joke

Bradley Cooper. Channing Tatum. Kim Jong Un? Not to be outdone by People's annual ode to chiseled abs, The Onion nominated North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un this year's "Sexiest Man Alive." Unfortunately, not everyone was in on the spoof, namely China's largest Communist Party newspaper, The People's Daily, which not only took the bait but splashed a 55-page slideshow dedicated to the boyish leader across its homepage. 

"The U.S. website The Onion has named North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong Un as the "Sexiest Man Alive for the year 2012," writes the People's Daily, underneath a cover photo of Kim majestically atop a horse. 

The People's Daily quotes The Onion, saying:

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.

According to Buzzfeed, previous winners of The Onion's tongue-in-cheek distinction include Bashar al-Assad, Bernie Madoff, as well as billionaires Charles and David Koch. "It is not the first time a state-run Chinese newspaper has fallen for a fictional report by The Onion," says the Associated Press. In 2002, the Beijing Evening News published a fictional account that the U.S. Congress wanted a new building and might leave Washington. "China may be leading the U.S. in many areas," says Neetzan Zimmerman at Gawker, "but, thankfully, we've still got a clear edge in both satire and snark."

Take a look at a few screenshots below: 

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