China found a humorous way to counter the accusations leveled by G-7 nations and NATO. Beijing mocked the leaders of many nations including the US, India, Japan and Australia with satirical cartoons and this was not the only occasion.
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The recently-concluded G-7 and NATO summits had criticized China over alleged human rights violations of Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang, Beijing’s aggressive military posture against Taiwan among other controversial issues.
In the face of such scathing criticisms, China stated that “the days when global decisions were dictated by a small group of countries are long gone”. Besides, the Chinese state media promoted a satirical cartoon depicting the G-7 member countries and named it – ‘The Last G-7’.
Alluding to Leonardo da Vinci’s timeless artwork ‘The Last Supper’, the latest cartoon shows the G-7 members led by the US in a huddle, plotting their next maneuver against China. The satirical depiction of the G-7 member countries was also published by Sina Weibo and went viral in the country, Nikkei Asia reported.
The cartoon depicts animal-headed figures, with hats depicting their respective flags. A cake with a Chinese map finds a place of prominence on the table.
China’s major global adversary, the US, was at the center of the table. Referring to the rising debt of the US, the bald eagle representing Washington sits with a money printer turning toilet paper into dollar bills.
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Japan is depicted as an Akita dog, seen holding a kettle and filling the glasses on the tables. The kettle is marked with a symbol of radiation, pointing to the Japanese decision to release wastewater from the nuclear plant at Fukushima Daiichi, a move strongly opposed by China.
On the other side of the table is a beaver representing Canada, holding a doll in its hands. The report mentions that the Chinese identified this doll as the Chief Financial Officer of Huawei Technologies, Meng Wanzhou. Wanzhou is currently detained in Canada, awaiting her extradition to the US.
The G-7 member-states are not the only ones to find a place on the table. The countries which are at loggerheads with China — India, Taiwan, and Australia — are not spared either.
“These animals have different facial expressions and gestures, implying that each side of the G7 actually has an axe to grind on the common conspiracies of suppressing China and upholding the Western hegemony,” Global Times quoted some observers and Chinese netizens as saying.
A kangaroo symbolizing Australia joins hands with the US to counter China. At the same time, it is dependent on China — its largest trading partner.
A strategic partner of the US in its Indo-Pacific strategy or QUAD, Australia’s relation with China has hit a rough patch in recent months. A frog, symbolizing Taiwan, is shown holding money in its arms and trying to reach the table, in front of the US.
At the far end of the table sits an elephant that stands for India. The elephant is shown sitting connected to oxygen canisters, in a direct reference to the oxygen crisis that the country was reeling under during the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.
India, China & Galwan Cartoon
Social media platforms in China were flooded with messages related to the first anniversary of the Galwan Valley clash.
On June 15, 2020, armies of the two nuclear-armed neighbors clashed at Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh in what is called the deadliest border conflict between them in decades.
Twenty Indian soldiers lost their lives and China officially admitted to only four casualties, that too after several months. The two countries have been locked in a border standoff for more than a year now.
The Global Times reported that photos of four Chinese soldiers who died in the clash were re-circulated.
In the widely circulating photos and videos, Qi Fabao, the regimental commander from the People’s Liberation Army, Xinjiang Military command, is shown standing in the middle of a river, trying to stop the Indian soldiers.
The Chinese commander, depicted by a Panda, stands strong with outstretched arms, and without any visible weapons, while Indian soldiers, depicted by elephants are shown trying to cross the river, in large numbers.
The Chinese state-owned daily also accused India of reinforcing infrastructure build-up at the border and enhancing its military arsenal. The same report quoted Chinese experts as stating that such measures were a ploy on the part of the Indian government to divert the attention of its people from its inability to control the Covid-19 pandemic in the country.
China’s Brush With Cartoons
The Chinese have used cartoons to show their adversaries in poor light on previous occasions as well.
An illustrator in #China re-created a famous Japanese painting The Great Wave off #Kanagawa. If Katsushika Hokusai, the original author is still alive today, he would also be very concerned about #JapanNuclearWater. pic.twitter.com/NlTFkqvwmN
— Lijian Zhao 赵立坚 (@zlj517) April 26, 2021
The Nikkei Asia report cited above mentions that satirical illustrations of other countries have been circulating widely in China.
The spokesperson for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs tweeted a parody of Katsushika Hokusai’s ‘Under the Wave of Kanagawa’, in a reference to Japan’s decision to release water from its defunct nuclear plant.
In April, the Chinese embassy in Japan had posted a cartoon featuring the Grim Reaper, who was dressed in an American flag and carried a scythe depicting the flag of Israel. After objections from Japan and Israel, the tweet was taken down.