A Chinese cartoonist's cartoon depiction of the Group of Seven (G7) members has won the praise and approval of netizens in the country.
The cartoon, posted by Bantonglaoatang on Weibo on June 12, included Australia and India, which were invited as guests to the three-day summit held in Cornwall, the UK, that recently concluded on June 13.
Nine animals representing different countries and regions
The drawing was carried by state-controlled media Global Times, which called the artwork a piece of "political satire", and published a scathing op-ed on the G7 countries as well.
Through what can the #G7 maintain its rule of the world? Depreciation of the US #dollar, nuclear #wastewater, or the detention of #MengWanzhou? A Chinese cartoonist gives his answer.— Global Times (@globaltimesnews) June 13, 2021
Credit: "The Last G7" by Bantonglaoatang pic.twitter.com/Y5nMu9D3v3
In the illustration, which parodies Leonardo da Vinci's "The Last Supper", the U.S., represented by a bald eagle, sits in the middle of the table while being surrounded by eight other anthropomorphic animals.
To its right sits a wolf, a shiba inu dog, a kangaroo, and a black hawk -- representing Italy, Japan, Australia and Germany respectively.
To its left are a lion for the UK, a beaver for Canada, a rooster for France, and an elephant for India.
Among them, Japan is pouring green-coloured water into everyone else's glasses, depicting the country's plans to release contaminated water from the destroyed Fukushima power plants.
Next to Japan is Italy, the first G7 country to join China's Belt and Road Initiative. With an empty glass in front of it, it's holding up its hands in a gesture that appears to be rejecting Japan's offer of toxic wastewater.
India, which is still fighting its second Covid-19 surge, is hooked up to a medical drip.
A cake with a Chinese map that includes the Taiwan island, as well as a machine printing American notes from a roll of toilet paper, are drawn on the table.
Beneath the table, Taiwan is represented by a frog that is trying to jump onto the table to hand out a couple of banknotes to the U.S.
Global Times said the illustration reveals "the evil intentions of the West that tries to lay a siege to China".
Cartoon rouses support among Chinese netizens
Weibo users have voiced their approval for cartoon, with many joining in to mock the G7 countries as well.
"Germany, France and the US. appear to be tight, but are actually divided. Italy is rejecting (the group's stance against China). The UK and Canada are loyal (to the U.S.). Australia is not included in the G7, so it will betray them sooner or later (a reference to Judas Iscariot, one of Jesus' disciples who betrayed him). Japan is serving them nuclear wastewater, while India is drinking some kind of animal fluid... this is brilliant! This is a prophecy, a conclusion gleaned from a keen observation of the current international situation!"
"Works that are rooted in the truth will forever resonate with the people."
"Bogan Australia is hooked up to China's nutritional drip, and is reaching out its hand to steal the money; Japan is pouring wastewater for everyone; the U.S. is using toilet paper to print American dollars that are increasingly worthless; a frog is scheming to jump onto the table, while a traitor on the side joins in the effort to kick up trouble; India's Covid-19 situation now is really bad, its glass contains extraordinary cow piss; the cake on the table is the China that they're trying to split apart. But they are all unaware that this is their last supper... after seeing this, I only have one request: Please come up with more of such drawings."
"Intricate, realistic, clear at a glance."
Shift in tone towards China
The G7 members had appeared to present a united front on China, calling out human rights issues in Xinjiang and Hong Kong, and a renewed probe into the origins of Covid-19.
This is a significant shift in tone from the last time they met in person in 2019, when the final statement had no mention of China.
China has hit back at the joint statement, with a spokesperson from the Chinese embassy in the UK accusing the group of "baseless accusations", CGTN reported.
The spokesperson also urged G7 members to stop slandering and meddling in China's internal affairs, and to do more to promote international cooperation instead of "creating confrontations and frictions".
Nevertheless, despite the seemingly united stance that the G7 had presented, they had failed to agree on an even harsher position on China.
The New York Times pointed out that the language on Xinjiang was vague, with the group merely urging China to respect "fundamental freedoms", and agreeing to set up a working group to "identify areas" to work towards "eradicating the use of all forms of forced labour in global supply chains".
Statements made by European G7 leaders after the summit also hinted at an unwillingness to come down as hard on China as the U.S. might have liked, with French President Emmanuel Macron saying that the group is not a club that's hostile to China.
Biden might possibly meet Chinese President Xi Jinping in person in October, when G20 members are scheduled to meet in Italy.
Top image via Bantonglaoatang/Weibo