Stop Photoshopping officials into porn, authorities ask blackmailers

This photomontage was created by Internet users and posted on social networks to make fun of the trend of blackmailing Chinese officials with forged porn images.
 
What to do when government officials and company bosses are repeatedly blackmailed by people who have Photoshopped their faces into pornographic pictures? Apparently, put up big billboards to tell them that this isn’t cool.
 
According to Hunan TV, this crime is particularly common in Shuangfeng County, in China’s southeastern Hunan Province, where authorities recently put these billboards up. Last year, 127 such blackmail cases were reported to Shuangfeng police, who arrested 37 suspects, some of whom were allegedly part of four different blackmail gangs. They confiscated more than 30 computers and 300 credit cards. The total amount of money extorted, according to the police, was 45.3 million yuan (about 5.6 million euros). Twenty-three suspects are still at large; the police is urging them to confess before March 31 or face harsh punishment.
 
"Decisively crack down on the crime of exploiting Photoshop technology to blackmail people with compound pictures, in order to establish a good image of Shuangfeng.”
 
Local officials had held a convention in February to discuss the problem, during which the Communist party secretary of Shuangfeng County said “all efforts would be made to cut out the tumour of using modified porn pictures for blackmailing purposes”.
 
Of course, in a country where the authorities themselves make frequent use of Photoshop to alter reality (see examples here and here), such cases are not limited to Shuangfeng. A recent one in eastern Zheijang province made international headlines when a man was arrested after allegedly attempting to blackmail more than 40 government officials with altered pornographic pictures. And in Xing’an County, in southwestern Guangxi province, the local Land and Resources Bureau took an unusual measure to deter troublemakers: they blurred photos of their officials on their website, reportedly to deter blackmailers.
 
Some online commentators have wondered if this new billboard campaign could have another, more subtle purpose: getting the public to think that all photos of officials involved in apparent sex scandals are fakes. Indeed, China has been rocked by a series of such scandals, ranging from orgies to sex tapes involving mistresses – no Photoshop involved.
 
“The whole of society must take action and declare a ‘people’s war’ against exploiting Photoshop to digitally alter photos and use them for blackmail!”
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