The Chinese regime demanded that the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten apologize for publishing a caricature of the coronavirus simulating a Chinese flag on Jan. 26.
The demand was taken as an attempt to extend the censorship applied in China to other countries in the world, while Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen declared that freedom of expression in Denmark includes the cartoons.
“We have a very, very strong tradition in Denmark not only for freedom of expression, but also for satirical drawings, and we will have that in the future as well,” Frederiksen defended, stressing that this would not change, according to Fox5Vegas.
Jyllands-Posten Editor-in-Chief Jacob Nybroe explained that they did not try to ridicule the Chinese regime and that the discrepancy was due to different cultural approaches.
“Under no circumstances was it ever the intention to offend the Chinese people, nor to exploit the existing serious situation, in which the coronavirus is costing human lives, for satire,” Nybroe said.
He also explained, “The cartoon describes the evolving issue that this disease is currently spreading from China to other countries in the world.”
The situation raised a debate in which the intention of the Chinese regime to extend its banning system to free speech stands out.
“Once again trying to extend its censorship around the world, the Chinese government opposes a Danish newspaper that ran this drawing showing the coronavirus as part of the Chinese flag,” wrote Human Rights Watch Executive Director Kenneth Roth in a tweet.
Once more trying to extend its censorship around the world, the Chinese government objects to a Danish newspaper that ran this drawing showing the coronavirus as part of the Chinese flag. https://t.co/R6gPS85qnV And here's the paper's response: https://t.co/gANkLydNRR pic.twitter.com/eGIHsSgXNy
— Kenneth Roth (@KenRoth) January 30, 2020
The Chinese regime also told the state media to only publish information provided by official channels, boosting “positive energy” and avoiding criticism from officials, according to the Wall Street Journal.
In addition, social media messages complaining about the regime’s failure to deal with the advance of the virus, and those questioning official data, are suppressed.
With regard to the impact that the infectious disease may cause on the million Chinese prisoners, just because they belong to the Uighur ethnic group and because of their religious belief, Insider criticized the extreme risk they are exposed to now that it has already appeared in their region.
“The Wuhan coronavirus has hit Xinjiang, where China has imprisoned at least 1 million Uighur Muslims. Its filthy detention camps will make inmates sitting ducks,” the newspaper wrote in one of its headlines.
It also quotes former inmates who relate the deplorable conditions in these prisons “with poor sanitation, poor hygiene, and overcrowded living conditions.” There are about 465 such prisons in the region.
The unsanitary conditions would provide a terrible breeding ground for the spread of the disease.
“Crowded conditions, poor hygiene, cold and stress on the immune system” could result in “a massive disaster,” tweeted James Millward, professor of Chinese and Central Asian history at Georgetown University, according to the Insider.
Middle East Eye and Byline Times columnist C.J. Werleman said the same thing in one of his tweets.
“China holds millions of Muslims in concentration camps, where they are subjected to vicious cruelty, including torture, gang rape and worse, while many are executed to supply global demand for organ transplants.
“That it barely rises to the level of a news story is something else,” Werleman concluded in his message.
China holds millions of Muslims in concentration camps, where they are subjected to vicious cruelty, including torture, gang rape & worse, while many are executed to supply global demand for organ transplants.
That it barely raises to the level of a news story is something else.
— CJ Werleman (@cjwerleman) January 30, 2020