The Incredible Realism Of Chinese Sex Toys

The world's biggest producer of sex toys is having some trouble sorting out the knock-offs from the real deal:

Police in China rescued a sex doll from a river, mistakenly believing it to be a drowning woman. The doll was floating around 50 metres from the riverbank in the Shandong province when 18 officers arrived at the scene, according to Chinese website Sohu. It took police 40 minutes to 'save' the inflatable doll, who could not identify the item until they were much closer.

Then there's what happened in a village near Xi'an last month, when residents and a government-TV newscaster mistook a sex toy for an ancient mushroom:

One villager who was there during the fateful discovery of the unidentified object tells the reporter, "When we dug down to about 80m deep, we fished out this long, fleshy object… I've done my own research on the internet… It's a type of lingzhi mushroom, called the taisui." [Editor's note: Taisui refers to 60 celestial generals named in the Chinese zodiac.] Without skipping a beat, reporter Ye chimes in with her own research, saying this type of lingzhi is generally found in the Shaanxi region deep underground and is hence rarely seen. "When the Emperor Qin Shi Huang was on the hunt for the secret to longevity," she elucidates, "it is said he discovered this lingzhi was the answer."

Eagle-eyed viewers who saw the report on Sunday immediately identified the mystery mushroom as a double-headed masturbation toy with an artificial vagina on one side and an artificial anus on the other.

Shortly thereafter, a street vendor tried to pass off similar sex toys as the legendary taisui mushrooms:

He even has a highly authoritative sales pitch playing off his laptop on loop — the Xi'an TV news report which has since gone viral all over the world. When one "prospective buyer" questions the man about the veracity of the report, he answers matter-of-factly, "It's on the news. How can it be fake?"