China's top newspaper has published a 55-page online picture spread of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un being named The Onion's "Sexiest Man Alive for 2012", appearing to fall for a spoof by the US satirical website.
Seemingly clueless as to the real nature of The Onion's tongue-in-cheek award for Mr Kim, the People's Daily splashed photographs of the portly young leader riding horses, clapping his hands, waving and clasping children's cheeks.
A time stamp on the Onion website suggests it had published its satire piece on Mr Kim earlier this month.
"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," the English online edition of the People's Daily quoted The Onion as saying.
"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 is the mouthpiece of China's ruling Communist Party and because it is widely believed to broadly reflect thinking within the Chinese government, it is among the better regarded newspapers in the country.
"He has that rare ability to somehow be completely adorable and completely macho at the same time," the People's Daily quoted Marissa Blake-Zweiber, an Onion editor, as saying.
The Onion said previous winners of its "Sexiest Man Alive" award include Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who is fighting an uprising against his rule, and financial swindler Bernie Madoff, who is serving a 150-year prison sentence.
China is North Korea's only major ally, with China concerned a political or economic collapse in the country could send a wave of refugees to its poor northeast.
While the People's Daily item was still up, The Onion updated the story to post a link and add a postscript: "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 Onion wrote.
It is not the first time a state-run Chinese newspaper has fallen for a fictional report by the just-for-laughs The Onion.
In 2002, the Beijing Evening News, one of the capital city's biggest tabloids at the time, published as news the fictional account that the US Congress wanted a new building and that it might leave Washington.
The Onion article was a spoof of the way sports teams threaten to leave cities in order to get new stadiums.
Two months ago, Iran's semiofficial Fars news agency reprinted a story from The Onion about a supposed survey showing that most rural white Americans would rather vote for Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad than President Barack Obama.
It included a quote from a fictional West Virginia resident saying he'd rather go to a baseball game with Mr Ahmadinejad because "he takes national defence seriously".