The cartoonist using his iPad at his house in Beijing. (Photo/CFP)
The cartoonist's Twitter page. (Internet photo)
Access has been suspended to the social networking accounts of a Chinese editorial cartoonist who goes by the name Biantai Lajiao after he was criticized by Chinese state-run media as a "pro-Japanese traitor", reports our Chinese-language sister newspaper Want Daily.
The artist, who goes by the handle remonwangxt on Twitter and whose real name is Wang Liming, a native of Hunan province, discovered that his accounts on major Chinese microblogs such as Sina, Tencent and instant social messaging app WeChat had been shut down. Access to an online store he runs with friends to buy items for Chinese customers in foreign countries has also been blocked.
"It is the most severe obstruction that I have ever encountered in my life," said the cartoonist on his Twitter account. The cartoonist decided to respond to the account suspension by drawing comic strips about Sino-Japanese friendship through history to "unravel the crimes of the pro-Japan Chinese traitor." He has decided to stay in Japan, as he has been visiting since May. The cartoonist was scheduled to return to China on Aug. 21.
Biantai Lajiao has amassed tens of thousands of followers on microblogs with his cartoons, which are inspired by major incidents or social issues in China, such as a train crash in Wenzhou in 2011 that killed at least 39 people, the government's anti-corruption campaign and ever-rising property prices. His satirical comments on the Chinese government's responses to and measures against the Occupy Central movement in Hong Kong drew heavy criticism from state-run media in June this year.
In response to the comments, The People's Daily forum Qiangguo Luntan, or Strong Country Forum, published an article titled Recognizing the True Color of Pro-Japan Traitor Biantai Lajiao on Aug. 18, which was immediately reposted by major news outlets in China.
The article said the cartoonist overlooks Japan's flaws and praises the country as the only one in the world that has implemented a peace constitution. It blasted the artist as an amoral and provocative person who has long spread pro-Japan messages and used cultural differences between China and Japan to mock Chinese traditional culture.
Around 193,000 people in Hong Kong took part in the Occupy Central movement in June this year to call on Beijing to grant Hong Kong citizens a greater say in electing their next leader at the 2017 Chief Executive election.
Biantai Lajiao 變態辣椒
Wang Liming 王立銘