Chinese officials have issued a red-faced apology after releasing a 'Photoshopped' government picture which removed a vice-mayor's legs.
The shoddily-doctored image taken in Ningguo, Anhui Province, was meant to show a concerned vice-mayor Wang Hun visiting an old lady in the city.
But instead the modified picture shows only a ghostly floating torso of the official, while the woman in question has been shrunk to the size of a small doll.
The Ningguo government quickly withdrew the image after being relentlessly mocked by internet users when it appeared online.
Bloggers made the point that although officials had apologised, government laws threaten jail to those who spread 'internet rumours'.
The Chinese government are said to have ordered the employee who uploaded the image to write a 'self-criticism'.
They said the bizarre government image appeared when a photographer attempted to merge two pictures together.
In a statement, they said officials had visited centenarians, including the woman called Cheng Yanchun, during a Chinese festival. Two photos of her were merged together because the dimensions of the room made getting a single wide shot too difficult.
A spokesperson said: 'Cheng was sitting on a chair on the balcony, under the sun. The balcony space was very small and the camera lens could not cover the whole scene … When the employee of the municipal civil affairs department uploaded the photos … he simply merged two shots.
'We express deep regret to internet users for its negative influence … We will learn from the experience, to improve civil affairs work.'
But merciless online commenters had a field day mocking the blundering image.
One poster said: 'It truly portrays the social ecology: the image of officials is glorious, the people are small and humble! What a good [bit of] Photoshop; he is really talented!'
A previous terrible Photoshop attempt of government officials in Sichuan several years prompted similar levels of mockery.