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Parody Makes Appearance On News Site In China


BEIJING — How do you say satire in Mandarin?


Not known for its sense of humor, the Chinese Communist Party’s official mouthpiece apparently fell for a parody by The Onion, the satirical newspaper and Web site, when it reported Tuesday in some online editions of People’s Daily that Kim Jong-un, the young, chubby North Korean ruler, had been named the “Sexiest Man Alive for 2012.”

并不以幽默感著称的中国共产党官方喉舌似乎被来自讽刺性报纸和网站“洋葱”(The Onion)的一篇讽刺报道愚弄了。周二,《人民日报》网站的报道称,胖乎乎的年轻朝鲜领袖金正恩(Kim Jong-un)被评为“2012年在世的最性感男人”。

Or did it?


The brief article, accompanied by a 55-photograph slide show, quoted from The Onion as evidence: “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 slide show revealed Mr. Kim in a variety of poses, like sitting atop a galloping white horse and greeting throngs of beaming North Korean soldiers.


The headline and slide show became a sensation on the Internet, and people wondered whether People’s Daily had been duped by The Onion article, which appeared Nov. 14.


John Delury, a scholar of Chinese and Korean history at Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea, said, “If it’s sincere, then it says something about the gullibility of a certain People’s Daily editor.”

在韩国首尔的延世大学(Yonsei University)研究中国和韩国历史的约翰·德勒里(John Delury)说,“如果该报道是认真的,那就说明人民日报的某个编辑太容易上当了。”

There were signs that someone at People’s Daily might have created the slide show with a subversive wink. The same day, the English-language edition of People’s Daily Online ran a 15-photograph slide show under the headline “ ‘Sex Tape’ Official at Work.”


The tongue-in-cheek slide show referred to an official in Chongqing, Lei Zhengfu, who was humiliated last week when someone leaked a video online of Mr. Lei having sex with an 18-year-old mistress in 2007. The People’s Daily slide show showed Mr. Lei doing his job as an official. Another slide show this month showed women at the 18th Party Congress under the headline “Beautiful Scenery.”


The original Onion article, a parody of People magazine’s annual “Sexiest Man Alive” feature, listed previous winners as Bashar al-Assad, Bernard L. Madoff and Theodore J. Kaczynski.

洋葱网刊登的原始文章戏仿了《人物》(People)周刊的年度专题报道《最性感的健在男士》。洋葱还列出了以往的历届获奖者,其中包括巴沙尔·阿萨德(Bashar al-Assad)、伯纳德·L·麦道夫(Bernard L. Madoff)和西奥多·J·卡钦斯基(Theodore J. Kaczynski)。

Will Tracy, its author, said in a telephone interview that he believed People’s Daily and The Korea Times, which also picked up the story, did not realize the original was intended as a prank. He said he had thought the list of previous winners, filled with “renowned maniacs,” was enough of a red flag.

文章作者威尔·特雷西(Will Tracy)在一次电话采访中说,他相信《人民日报》和同样转载这篇报道的《韩国时报》(The Korea Times)都没有意识到原文的恶作剧意图。他说,他本来以为,列满了“知名狂热分子”的过往获奖者名单已足以让他们产生警惕。

Mr. Tracy added that The Onion had issued a formal statement. “We are pleased that one of our many fine Communist subsidiaries, the People’s Daily in China, has received accolades for its coverage of our Sexiest Man Alive announcement,” the statement said. “The People’s Daily has served as one of The Onion’s Far East bureaus for quite some time, and I believe their reportage as of late has been uncommonly fine, as well as politically astute.”


People’s Daily could not be reached for comment on Tuesday night.


The online version of People’s Daily does not go through the same rigorous editing process as the print edition.


In 2002, Beijing Evening News ran an Onion article that said the United States Congress was considering leaving Washington to look for a new capitol building. In September, the Fars News Agency of Iran, which is semiofficial, published an Onion article that said a Gallup poll had found that more rural, white Americans would vote for President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran than President Obama.

2002年,《北京晚报》(Beijing Evening News)转载了一篇洋葱网的文章。文章说,美国国会(United States Congress)正在考虑搬离华盛顿,寻找一处新的国会大厦。今年9月,半官方的伊朗法斯通讯社(Fars News Agency of Iran)也转载了一篇洋葱网的文章。文章说,一项盖洛普民意调查发现,多数美国乡村白人宁可给马哈茂德·艾哈迈迪-内贾德(Mahmoud Ahmadinejad)总统投票,也不愿意给奥巴马总统投票。

When Mr. Tracy was asked Tuesday whether he had any concerns that the misinterpretation of these articles could provoke international incidents, he said, “The Onion fully intends to provoke international incidents.”

本周二, 被问及是否担心因这些文章被人误读而引发国际事件时,特雷西说,“洋葱网完全就是想挑起国际事件。”  

黄安伟(Edward Wong)是《纽约时报》驻京记者。Christine Haughney自纽约对本文有报道贡献。