China: Sorry for This Fake Photo

State news agency apologizes for doctored image of antelopes near train
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 22, 2008 5:12 PM CST
China: Sorry for This Fake Photo
The faked shot, credited to photographer Liu Weiqiang, appears to show antelopes crossing near a bridge on the Qinghai-Tibet railway.   (

China’s state-run news service has apologized for running—and honoring—a doctored photo that aided the government’s argument about a new train line's environmental impact. The 2006 image showed antelopes frolicking under Tibetan tracks, purportedly demonstrating that the beloved beasts weren’t affected by them. It worked, until sleuths noticed the telltale signs of Photoshop, the Wall Street Journal reports.

After it ran, the government honored the photo as one of the best of the year. But bloggers noted inexplicable lines across the image and pointed out that many of the antelope were pregnant out of season. The photographer admitted to the fabrication and quit his newspaper job. "It’s such a perfect propaganda photo,” said one researcher. (Read more China stories.)

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