Xinhua, China’s oldest official press agency, has recently made efforts to make the new leaders of the country seem more approachable. It has run dozens of photos showing future president Xi Jinping and future prime minister Li Keqiang on holidays or with their family.
Unfortunately, an evidently-altered photo (above) was included in one of the agency’s latest photo slideshows, which was entitled “Li Keqiang: a man who puts people first.” (The photo has since disappeared from Xinhua’s website.) Internet users quickly noticed that the images of the politicians were stuck on top of another photo, which they found on another new site (below).
The original photo that was used as the photomontage's backdrop.
Beyond the obvious difference in lighting conditions between the politicians and the background, numerous small details prove that the image is a photomontage:
The contours of the mens' hair are blurry.
Several people in the background of the original photo were visibly blurred out.
Also, parts of the brick wall were cloned.
According to the website Shanghaiist, online comments denouncing the photo as an attempt at manipulating public sentiment have all been censored by the authorities.
The photomontage on Xinhua's website, before it was taken down. Recovered thanks to Google's cache.