The doctored photo. (Internet photo)
The city government of Ningguo in eastern China's Anhui province has responded to online mockery after posting on its official website an obviously doctored photo of city officials paying a visit to a local centenarian. Admitting the picture was photoshopped, they said the visit did indeed take place but the doctored photo was used because there were no genuine photos of the visit that included all the officials present, according to Shanghai's Oriental Morning Post.
In a further PR gaffe, it appears the doctored photo was brought to light by Chinese internet users after their requests for the contact information of the woman, 103-year-old Cheng Yanchun, were rejected. They were trying to contact the woman to send her money.
The photo shows four officials including deputy mayor Wang Jun standing around the elderly woman, who appears comically small compared to her visitors. Wang's lower body has also magically faded out. A staff member at the city government refused to comment on the photo and hung up on reporters' phone calls on Tuesday.
The government eventually offered an explanation, saying that during the visit Cheng was seated on a chair on a small balcony which gave photographers too little space to include her and all the visiting officials in a single shot. Staffers accordingly merged images from the photos taken during the visit using Photoshop.
The city Ningguo government admitted the editing was inappropriate and said it will monitor its website and punish those responsible for the error.
A similar "cropaganda" fiasco occurred in 2011, when officials from Sichuan province were shown on a local road inspection visit apparently floating above the road surface having been photoshopped into the image. The image gave rise to a crop of spoof imitations on the internet.
Wang Jun 汪軍