COPENHAGEN: Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten refused to apologise to China on Tuesday over a satirical cartoon it ran about the deadly new coronavirus that stoked the ire of Beijing.
The cartoon, published on Monday, depicted a Chinese flag with the yellow stars normally found in the upper left corner exchanged for drawings of the coronavirus.
China’s embassy in Denmark responded the same day and issued a statement calling 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 the cartoonist Niels Bo Bojesen “reproach themselves for their mistake and publicly apologise 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 and some 50 confirmed infections outside the country.
On Tuesday, Jyllands-Posten’s chief editor Jacob Nybroe said they wouldn’t “dream of” poking fun at the situation in China, but also refused to apologise.
“We cannot apologise 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,” Nybroe added.
Jylland-Posten is no stranger to controversy. In 2005, it published cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed, sparking violent protests in the Muslim world.