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“Qinghai-Tibet railway opens green passage for wildlife”
Photographer Liu Weiqing claimed he had to wait with his camera in a pit for eight days to capture this image of antelope galloping across the Tibetan landscape as a high-speed train passes overhead on the newly opened Qinghai-Tibet railway. "I wanted to capture the harmony among the Tibetan antelope, the train, men and nature," he said.

The photo, widely disseminated by Xinhua, China's state-run news agency, eased concerns that the high-speed train (which started service in July 2006) would disturb Tibetan wildlife. CCTV, China's state-run television network, declared it a top 10 "photo of the year" in late 2006.

The problems began in 2008 when the photograph was displayed in Beijing's subway system. An amateur photographer, who posted online under the screen name Dajiala, noticed a line near the bottom of the railway bridge where two images appeared to have been spliced together.

Once he voiced his suspicions, others soon chimed in. Animal behaviorists noted it would have been very unlikely that the noise-sensitive antelope would have been galloping in a tight pack. The sound of the train would have caused them to scatter in panic.

Liu eventually confessed he had composited several different images together. He resigned from the Daqing Evening News, where he was employed, as did his editor. CCTV revoked his award.
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All text Copyright © 2014 by Alex Boese, except where otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.