The Canadian Embassy in China publicly apologized after a staff member allegedly made a custom T-shirt.
“The Embassy of Canada wishes to convey our sincere regret that the private production of T-shirts for embassy staff featuring Wuhan and the logo of a popular hip-hop group has offended public sentiment in China,” the statement read.
“These T-shirts were not produced to make any statement, political or otherwise, and we regret the offence they may have caused.”
Images of the T-shirt went viral on Chinese social media in the past few days. The images show an altered version of the logo of American hip-hop group Wu-Tang Clan, with the large “W” of the logo redesigned to look like a bat.
The bat is a reference to the theory that the coronavirus was first transmitted to humans from bats in Wuhan.
The T-shirt offended the Chinese government, which lodged a formal complaint with Canada and demanded an explanation.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said China recognized Canada’s apologies and notes that Canada should consider the T-shirt incident “as a lesson learned and make sure such things won’t happen again.”
In a previous statement to Reuters, the foreign service stated that the employee did not mean to create an offensive design, adding that that “W” is not meant to be a bat.
“The T-shirt logo designed by a member of the Embassy shows a stylized W, and is not intended to represent a bat. It was created for the team of Embassy staff working on repatriation of Canadians from Wuhan in early 2020.”
In response, one Chinese artist known for his anti-Western sentiments put out an image of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as the Batman franchise villainess Harley Quinn.