<HTML><HEAD> <META name=GENERATOR content="MSHTML 8.00.6001.19019"></HEAD> <BODY> <H1 class="cN-headingPage prepend-5 span-11 last">Chinese red-faced after photo fakery goes global </H1> <DIV class="push-0 span-11 last"><!-- cT-storyDetails --> <DIV class="cT-storyDetails cfix"> <H5>Adam Cooper </H5><CITE>June 30, 2011</CITE> <UL></UL></DIV> <DIV id=googleAds class="ad adSpot-textBox"></DIV><BOD> <DIV class=articleBody><!-- cT-imageLandscape --> <DIV class=cT-imageLandscape><IMG alt="Huili local officials float above a highway project in China's Sichuan province under the guise of 'inspecting'" src="ctschinese-officials-in-doctor-420x0.jpg"> <P>Huili local officials float above a highway project in China's Sichuan province under the guise of 'inspecting' <EM>Photo: Huili County Government</EM></P></DIV> <P>Government officials in a rural corner of China wanted to inform residents they were inspecting a new road.</P> <P>Instead, it appears they have gained global ridicule and notoriety as the stars of what is being described as a contender for the worst-doctored photograph <A href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jun/29/chinese-county-ridicule-doctored-photograph">in internet history.</A></P> <P>When a photo of three officials inspecting a newly-completed road in Huili, in south-west China, became public on Monday, it prompted plenty of calls - some outraged, others bemused - to the county's public relations department, the <EM><A href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jun/29/chinese-county-ridicule-doctored-photograph" target=_blank>Guardian</A></EM> reports.</P> <P>The result was an image of the trio seemingly hovering over a section of road, not dissimilar to the look of early science fiction films.</P> <P>The department immediately apologised and withdrew the image and provided an equally clumsy explanation: other photos showed the three men at the road, however the photographer was unhappy with his original pictures so tried to stitch two together.</P> <P>"A government employee posted the edited picture out of error ... The county government understands the wide attention, and hope to apologise for and clarify the matter," a Huili official told the state-run Xinhua news agency.</P> <P>In a bid to minimise ridicule, officials from the county, in Sichuan province, even signed up to the popular Sina Weibo social media site to post an explanation, the <EM>Guardian</EM> reported.</P> <P>But that did little to hose down the lampooning.</P> <P>Soon enough there was a flood of parodies circulating on the web, some of the officials on the moon surface, another of them surrounded by dinosaurs and, one with North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.</P> <P>Such was the fame the photo brought Huili County, a search on Wikipedia found the only point of interest to the entire county was the fact the photo was doctored and had gone viral.</P></DIV></BOD></DIV></BODY></HTML>