On Wednesday evening, a small-town newspaper in Sichuan made a rare move by apologising for a doctored photo it published of its local Communist Party secretary.
With its apology, the Neijiang Daily, the Party mouthpiece in the town of four million people in south-eastern Sichuan, reacted to widespread satire online after it published the photo two weeks ago. Communist Party Secretary Zeng Wanli was seen standing in his own shadow.
"The photographer simplified the image, cut out and covered up some passers-by and onlookers," the editorial department wrote in its apology . "We thank and welcome readers and netizens for the supervision of our work."
The photo shows Zeng on an inspection tour. A photographer was cut out of the picture, perhaps to give more of an impression that his visit was not a PR stunt.
The case is reminiscent of a ridiculously doctored photo  of three officials inspecting a road in Huili County, also in Sichuan, in 2011.
Photoshopping images has become a lucrative industry in China. Just last month, Shuangfeng, a city in Hunan formerly known as the hometown of fake identity cards, launched a "people's war" campaign  against doctored photos.
Local youth eager to earn easy money produced doctored incriminating sex photos of local officials and businessmen to blackmail them.
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