The Onion Fools Top Chinese Newspaper

Chinese paper runs with satirical story naming North Korean dictator "sexiest man alive."

Kim Jung Un -- perhaps the fattest man in North Korea -- doesn't meet the classical definition of "sexy."

Kim Jong Un -- perhaps the fattest man in North Korea -- doesn't meet the classical definition of "sexy."

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The Onion dupes again.

The satirical newspaper's latest victim? China.

The official newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party dedicated a 55-photo slideshow to North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un Tuesday after The Onion selected him as the Sexiest Man Alive for 2012.

The People's Daily, whose slideshow is replete with quotes from the Onion piece and leads off with a photo of Kim looking majestic on a gray spotted horse, does not appear to in on the joke.

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"U.S. website The Onion has named North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong Un as the "Sexiest Man Alive for the year 2012," the story begins. It goes on to quote the Onion's tongue-in-cheek praise, which complements Kim's "impeccable fashion sense," his "chic short hairstyle," and an "unmistakable cute, cuddly side" masked by an "air of power."

The Chinese paper, which claims to have 2.4 million readers, apparently glossed over the original article's list of previous Sexiest Man Alive winners: Syrian Dictator Bashar al-Assad, Wall Street con artist Bernie Madoff, the Koch brothers, and the "Unabomber" Ted Kaczynski.

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The Onion's duping is even acknowledged in a gleeful update to the original story.

"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," the update reads.

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The satirical publication has fooled its share of government officials. In February, Republican Rep. John Fleming of Louisiana posted a link to an Onion story headlined "Planned Parenthood Opens $8 Billion Abortionplex" to his own Facebook page. It has also duped internationally before — Bangladeshi papers ran with a story on the moon landing being a hoax in 2009 and the official Iranian news agency did the same with an Onion piece from September saying rural Americans preferred Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Barack Obama.

This is also not its first time victimizing China. In 2002, the Beijing Evening News fell for an Onion story claiming congressmen were considering building a new Capitol building in Memphis, Tenn., or Charlotte, N.C., for better parking and more bathrooms.

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Seth Cline is a reporter for U.S. News & World Report. You can follow him on Twitter or reach him at scline@usnews.com.