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A T-shirt with the Wu-Tang Clan image is on the heart of a dispute between China and Canada.

To hip-hop followers, it’s an immediately recognizable image, a flying letter W that represents the Wu-Tang Clan, the New York rap collective.

To the Chinese language Ministry of International Affairs, it suggests one thing else: a bat. And so, when Canadian diplomats in China ordered T-shirts with the image behind the phrase “Wuhan,” it grew to become a minor diplomatic incident.

“The Chinese language facet is shocked by this and has lodged stern representations with the Canadian Embassy in China, demanding that the Canadian facet instantly totally examine the incident and provides China a transparent clarification,” Wang Wenbin, a spokesman for China’s Ministry of International Affairs, mentioned throughout a information convention on Monday.

Bats are thought-about one of many attainable authentic hosts of the coronavirus that emerged within the central Chinese language metropolis of Wuhan in late 2019, and so they have appeared in memes about Chinese language consuming habits which have been criticized as racist. The Chinese language authorities have tried to minimize the pandemic’s origins in Wuhan, as a substitute pushing doubtful theories that the virus might have emerged earlier in Europe, the USA or elsewhere.

A spokesperson for Canada’s overseas service informed the Reuters information company that the T-shirt didn’t depict a bat.

“The T-shirt brand designed by a member of the embassy exhibits a stylized W, and isn’t meant to characterize a bat. It was created for the workforce of embassy employees engaged on repatriation of Canadians from Wuhan in early 2020,” the spokesperson mentioned by e mail on Tuesday. “We remorse the misunderstanding.”

Relations between China and Canada have been tense since December 2018, when Canada detained Meng Wanzhou, a high govt on the Chinese language tech large Huawei who was wished on fraud expenses in the USA. Two Canadian males, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, have been arrested in China quickly after in an obvious act of retaliation. They’ve been accused of espionage and stay held in China below remoted and harsh circumstances.

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