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Danish newspaper's virus cartoon angers China


Agence France-Presse

Copenhagen  /  Wed, January 29, 2020  /  12:05 pm
Danish newspaper's virus cartoon angers China

Add to cart Print Share this document A page of the Danish Daily Newspaper Jyllands-Posten's from the January 27, 2020 edition shows a cartoon made by Danish editorial cartoonist Niels Bo Bojesen of the Chinese national flag with a coronavirus on January 28, 2020 in Copenhagen. (Ritzau Scanpix/AFP/Ida Marie Odgaard)

A Danish newspaper refused to apologize to China on Tuesday over a satirical cartoon it ran about the deadly new virus that has killed dozens and infected thousands more.

The cartoon, published in Jyllands-Posten on Monday, depicted a Chinese flag with the yellow stars normally found in the upper left corner exchanged for drawings of the new coronavirus.

China's embassy in Denmark called the cartoon "an insult to China" that "hurts the feelings of the Chinese people".

The embassy said the cartoon crossed the "ethical boundary of free speech" and demanded that the paper and cartoonist Niels Bo Bojesen "reproach themselves for their mistake and publicly apologize to the Chinese people".

After breaking out in the city of Wuhan, the official number of confirmed cases of the new virus reached more than 4,000 in China as of Tuesday, with over 100 deaths. 

Read also: As number of coronavirus infections grow globally, Indonesia claims zero cases so far

Some 50 infections have also been confirmed elsewhere in Asia, Europe and North America.

On Tuesday, Jyllands-Posten's chief editor Jacob Nybroe said they would not "dream of" poking fun at the situation in China but also refused to apologise.

"We cannot apologize for something we don't think is wrong. We have no intention of being demeaning or to mock, nor do we think that the drawing does," Nybroe said.

"As far as I can see, this here is about different forms of cultural understanding."

Several Danish politicians backed the paper, with Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen quoted by the Politiken newspaper as saying "we have freedom of expression in Denmark. Also to draw".

Jylland-Posten is no stranger to controversy. In 2005, it published several cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed, which later contributed to violent protests in some Muslim countries.

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