The Chinese embassy in Denmark demanded an apology to the prominent Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten for a cartoon that turns the stars of the national flag of the People's Republic of China into images of a virus that was published on January 27. With the cartoon they highlighted the country's initial measure of hiding the outbreak of coronavirus in Wuhan, which has already spread throughout the world. After the prime minister commented on the incident with references to the country's tradition of free expression, the Chinese patriots online waged an online war to mock the Danish flag.
By January 31, there were confirmations of more than ten cases of Wuhan coronavirus in Europe. In China, there are 9692 confirmed cases, 15 238 suspected cases and 213 deaths. Many cyclists have pointed out that the fact that China did not inform its citizens of the outbreak in December 2019 led to this global health crisis. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared a global health emergency after the new coronavirus spread throughout the country during the lunar New Year season trips in mid-January.
For many in China, the ironic cartoon of the flag of the People's Republic of China hurts national pride. The Chinese embassy issued a statement demanding an apology from the newspaper that day:
Without any sympathy and empathy, (the cartoon) has crossed the bottom line of civilized society and the ethical boundary of free speech and offends human conscience… We express our strong indignation and demand that Jyllands-Posten and (cartoonist) Niels Bo Boresen reproach themselves for their mistake and publicly apologize to the Chinese people.
Without showing solidarity or empathy, (the cartoon) has crossed the boundaries of civilized society and the ethical boundaries of free expression and offended human conscience … We express our strong indignation and demand that Jyllands-Posten and (the cartoonist) Niels Bo Bojesen assume their mistake and publicly apologize to the Chinese people.
However, no apology was offered and several newspapers in Europe have reproduced the cartoon as part of their reports on the Chinese declaration. To the dismay of China, Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen commented on the incident with a defense of the country's free expression tradition:
I have nothing more to say but that we have a very, very strong tradition in Denmark not only for freedom of expression, but also for satire drawings, and we will have that in the future as well… it is a well-known Danish position , and we will not change that.
I have no more to say besides that we have a very strong tradition in Denmark, not only for freedom of expression, but also for satire drawings, and we will continue to have it in the future … It is a well-known Danish position, and we will not change that.
For their part, netizens of Hong Kong said the first “Chinese virus flag” initially appeared in The Stand News, half of Hong Kong, on January 23 (see photo above). The online media website published another image of mockery in its coverage of the Chinese embassy statement:
Moreover, there have been several mocking images that make use of the Chinese national flag:
– Otto Huang (@ OttoHuang120) January 29, 2020
In response to @RAF_Chnese.
‘Denmark is weak and China is strong’
However, for Chinese patriots online, Denmark is not in a position to make fun of China. Here a Chinese theory that circulates widely online:
正当 中国 人民 全力 与 病毒 抗战 时 ， 丹麦 ?? 主流 媒体 《日 竟 公开 刊登 有辱 中国 的 漫画 ， 将 别的 国家 人民 饱受 的 灾难 当做 笑话 来 哗众取宠。 还 口口声声 说 “民主” “人权”。 在 我们 看来 ， 这 是 何等 的 虚伪 与 卑鄙 无耻。 有 国外 网友 评论 ： 二战 时期 ， 丹麦 4 小时 就 向 德国 投降 ， 而 中国 人民 抗争 了 14 年。
这次 丹麦 蠢 极 了。
– Wudoko (@ lostindream1) January 30, 2020
While the “Chinese people fight against the coronavirus,” the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten published a cartoon to insult China, using the misfortunes of other people to get attention and use the rhetoric of “democracy” and “human rights.” He is very hypocritical and short. Comments from Chinese netizens abroad: During World War II, Denmark surrendered to Germany in four hours. China fought 14 years (in the same period). Denmark has been very dumb this time.
Along with those arguments, many images that make fun of the Danish national flag have emerged online. These are some that highlight the story of “four hours to surrender”:
– 广 9Trump (@ 9Trump1) January 28, 2020
hey .look. good idea ！！！ pic.twitter.com/qSOD6nNyZF
– xinnianhao (@ xinnianhao9) January 29, 2020
Hey, look! Good idea.
Some were more offensive:
小 國 真他媽 囂張 ， 要有 「真」 言論自由 ， 14 億 人 一 人 一句 可以 把 你 國家 說 哭。 pic.twitter.com/WpHGkU5GBQ
– Jon Chan (@ sumtingwong2019) January 29, 2020
The little country is so damn arrogant. To take freedom of expression seriously, each of the 1400 million Chinese says a prayer, and we will make that country learn to cry.
Many are using the Nazi symbol to insult the Danish flag. Here are just a few examples that circulate on Twitter:
– Hanson Lee (@ HansonL67451555) January 29, 2020
In response to @RFI_Cn.
– 赵本山 (@ iK96pOIKkMwuzPL) January 30, 2020
In response to @RFI_Cn.