The Shenzhen Evening News issued an apology on Sunday on their official Sina Weibo account, a widely used Chinese social media site, confirming the incident.
"We sincerely apologize for the disturbance and discomfort we have caused to Yao's family, fans and netizens," the statement read.
The newspaper admitted to taking photos of the 33-year-old's body during a cornea removal surgery in a operating room after her death on Friday evening at a Shenzhen Hospital.
She had agreed to donate her corneas after her death.
According to the statement, the photos were deleted immediately after family members objected.
Yao is a pop star known for singing the Chinese version of "Let It Go" from Disney's blockbuster"Frozen." She first rose to fame in China's hit reality television singing competition, "The Voice", in 2013.
Allegations of the incident surfaced on social media a day after the news of the 33-year-old's death broke.
A widely shared post
on Weibo under the user name "Entertainment Whistleblower" said that three journalists from the Shenzhen Evening News pretended to be medical staff assisting in the surgery, and sneaked into the morgue to take photographs of the deceased singer's body.
The statement from the newspaper did not say how many journalists were involved or detail exactly how the photos were obtained.
CNN contacted the hospital about the allegations, but they had no comment on the incident.
The allegations unleashed a storm of criticism about media ethics on social media.
"Where is your humanity?" commented one Weibo user, referring to the newspaper.
"A simple apology online and that's all you're going to do about an incident that seriously oversteps ethical borders?" said another.