The chief editor for the People's Daily English channel, where the story also ran, declined to comment. "I can't say anything yet," said the woman who would only give her surname Wang.
While the People's Daily item was still up, The Onion updated the story to post a link and add a postscript: "For more coverage on The Onion's Sexiest Man Alive 2012, Kim Jong-Un, please visit our friends at the People's Daily in China, a proud Communist subsidiary of The Onion, Inc.
"Exemplary reportage, comrades," The Onion wrote.
It is not the first time a state-run Chinese newspaper has fallen for a fictional report by the just-for-laughs The Onion.
In 2002, the Beijing Evening News, one of the capital city's biggest tabloids at the time, published as news the fictional account that the U.S. Congress wanted a new building and that it might leave Washington. The Onion article was a spoof of the way sports teams threaten to leave cities in order to get new stadiums.
Two months ago, Iran's semiofficial Fars news agency reprinted a story from The Onion about a supposed survey showing that most rural white Americans would rather vote for Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad than President Barack Obama. It included a quote from a fictional West Virginia resident saying he'd rather go to a baseball game with Ahmadinejad because "he takes national defense seriously."