Drawing the News: Anti-Japan Protests and More

The China news cycle has been dominated by anti-Japan protests following the Japanese government’s purchase of three Diaoyu Islands. This week, Drawing the News looks at netizen cartoons tackling this and other timely issues, as well as some more timeless problems in China.

Artist: Murong Ao’ao

As his body is consumed by flames, a man in a sports jacket shouts, “Look, someone’s house caught on fire!” Cartoonist Murong Gao’ao is making a dig at “a certain TV channel” which has played up the reaction to the incendiary YouTube film The Innocence of Muslims. Murong writes on his blog, “I watched a little TV on the subway last night. It was still focused with the utmost intensity on anti-American protests and riots in the Arab world. I really wanted to pat them on the shoulder and say, ‘Yo, bro, we have that here, too.’”

Artist: Dashix

Dashix addresses the anti-Japan fever that has stricken many Chinese since Japan announced it would purchase the Diaoyu Islands. In “The Day in the Life of a Patriotic Loser,” a man makes signs, attacks “foreign devils,” smashes cars, steals Japanese goods, rubs one out (to Japanese porn, no less) and finally lands in jail. “Oppose violent patriotism and don’t be brain-damaged,” the friendly skeleton says at the end. “Love of country begins with loving your neighbor.”

Artist: Peaceful House Pearl Shimao

The world is dancing to “Gangnam Style,” Korean pop star Psy’s whimsical music video. Psy taught Ellen Degeneres and Britney Spears his moves and has inspired reactions in Utah and remakes in Mongolia. Here, Shimao catches the Gangnam Style bug, dancing his way through New York, Paris and Tokyo. But what is Shanghai style? Our friend has been committed to a mental institution for “involvement in multiple activities,” “running crazily all over the place” and being a pig.

Artist: B. Kuang

Is this a surgeon suturing a “wound” or a bandit shutting up his victim in the middle of the night? One netizen interprets this cartoon with his own caption:

You say foreign criticism is interference in our internal affairs; domestic criticism is malicious crowing; the criticism of public intellectuals is incitement to subversion*; the criticism of academics is poisoning people’s minds; the criticism of the masses is just defining the state of the nation. In truth, you decided not to take any criticism at all.

* Incitement to subversion (shāndòng diānfù 煽动颠覆) is rendered euphemistically as “the woman of the cave summit” (shāndòng diān fù 山洞巅妇).



Posted on Weibo by @PlatoK (@柏拉图K), this anonymous cartoon shows old matches wilting before the newest stock. Above the stage, a lit match hangs where you would expect to see the hammer and sickle. It seems to allude to the 18th Party Congress, where the used-up will make way for the new leadership. But is the system destined to burn itself out in one bright flash?


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