After the Group of Seven (G-7) summit finished with a strong statement condemning the Chinese communist regime over its human rights abuses, a cartoon mocking the G-7 leaders went viral on Chinese social media. Chinese state-run media have promoted the satirical cartoon with nationalistic fervor, triggering backlash from Western observers.
Netizen “Bantonglaoatang,” who is a digital painter and blogger on Chinese social media site Weibo, published a satirical cartoon titled “The Last G-7” on June 12, mocking the G-7 leaders participating in the summit in Cornwall, UK.
The cartoon is a parody of Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper.” The leaders of the countries attending the G-7 are portrayed as their respective national animals, wearing hats made from their national flags, and plotting to “rule the world.” The animals are sitting by a dinner table with a Chinese map-shaped cake on it.
The bald eagle represents the United States, the lion the UK, the black hawk Germany, the Gallic rooster France, the wolf Italy, the nutria Canada, and the Akita dog Japan. Australia and India, who were invited to attend the G-7 summit and have had tense relations with China recently, also appeared in the cartoon, portrayed as a kangaroo and a kneeling elephant. Taiwan is portrayed as a frog.
Chinese regime mouthpiece the Global Times published an article to introduce the cartoon to the public on June 13, when the G-7 issued a statement saying it will take a tougher stance on China and investigate the origin of COVID-19. The article hopes to stir up anti-West and nationalist sentiment among Chinese readers, describing the G-7 cartoon as “mocking the bloc’s attempt to suppress China.” The report also cited comments from young pro-communist Chinese on social media praising the cartoon for “vividly revealing the evil intentions of the West that tries to lay a siege to China,” and saying “this [G-7 summit] is probably their ‘last supper.’”
The cartoon triggered backlash from the international community. UK media called the cartoon “eerie,” “vicious,” and a “propaganda attack.” Voice of America (VOA) said the creator of the cartoon is a “wolf warrior” artist, and the cartoon doesn’t help to create a more “lovable” image of China, referring to regime leader Xi Jinping’s recent call for such a portrayal.
“Bantonglaoatang” is not the only Chinese “wolf warrior” artist to ridicule the G-7 leaders through cartoons. Another Chinese artist with the online name “Wuhe Qilin” portrayed the G-7 leaders in a style of historical photo from the Eight-Nation Alliance era. The date shown on the wall in the photo is “1900,” and its title is “invaders.” It implies that the current G-7 countries are still trying to invade and bring harm to China, provoking anti-West sentiments among Chinese people. “Wuhe Qilin” once called himself “the wolf warrior painter” on his Weibo account.
The VOA said that if the country has too many “wolf warrior artists,” it’s really hard to create a “lovable” image of communist China.