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China is causing a ruckus over a Canadian diplomat’s order of T-shirts.
The shirts — reportedly ordered last year by a staffer at the Canadian Embassy in Beijing — display the word “Wuhan” over the emblem of hip-hop group Wu-Tang Clan.
Chinese critics claim the shirts actually show a bat — not the New York City group’s “W” logo — implying a link between the animals and the coronavirus outbreak in the city Wuhan.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said Tuesday that China had lodged a formal complaint with Canada over the tops.
He called on the country to “thoroughly investigate the incident and give China a clear explanation,” adding that the virus shouldn’t be linked to specific countries or regions.
The diplomatic squabble arose after word of the T-shirts began circulating online in China, with commenters saying the “bat symbol” was an insult, playing on a stereotype about the Chinese taste for eating exotic species.
This also appeared to reference allegations that the coronavirus originated in bats and then spread to people in Wuhan, where illnesses were first reported in late 2019.
A spokesperson for Canada’s foreign service said that the shirts weren’t intended as a slight and apologized for any misunderstanding.
“The T-shirt logo designed by a member of the Embassy shows a stylized W, and is not intended to represent a bat,” the spokesperson said in a statement.
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“It was created for the team of Embassy staff working on repatriation of Canadians from Wuhan in early 2020,” the statement added.
But Beijing isn’t buying it.
Wang told reporters on Wednesday that Canada’s explanation so far was ”not convincing.”
“The wrongdoing of the Canadian staff concerned has already caused an egregious impact and triggered strong resentment and discontent among the ordinary Chinese people,” Wang said.
“The Canadian side should take the matter seriously and give a clear explanation to the Chinese side as soon as possible.”
With Post wires