Chinese officials in Denmark are demanding an apology from the daily Jyllands-Posten newspaper for publishing a cartoon showing five coronavirus particles on the Chinese flag instead of stars.
In a Tuesday statement, China’s embassy in the country said Jyllands-Posten and the Danish artist Niels Bo Bojesen should apologize for the image, captioned “Coronavirus,” which appeared in Monday’s edition of the paper, Reuters reported.
“Without any sympathy and empathy, it has crossed the bottom line of civilized society and the ethical boundary of free speech and offends human conscience,” the embassy said.
Jyllands-Posten Editor-in-Chief Jacob Nybroe said the paper did not intend to joke about the infections in China, but refused to apologize, Reuters noted, citing local media. The coronavirus has killed 106 people in China and infected thousands.
“We cannot apologize for something that we don’t believe is wrong,” Nybroe reportedly told local newswire Ritzau. “We have no intention of demeaning or mocking the situation in China and we don’t think the drawing does that.”
Danish politicians were also unified in support of the paper Tuesday. Conservative Party leader Søren Pape Poulsen tweeted “Full support for Jyllands-Posten,” as translated by Reuters.
Kinas reaktion er en trist gentagelse af princippet i Mohammed-krisen. Kina skal IKKE kræve undskyldning for mediers redaktionelle linje. Fuld støtte til JP #dkpol— Søren Pape Poulsen (@SorenPape) January 28, 2020
In 2005, the paper drew criticism for publishing satirical drawings of the Prophet Mohammad.