A Canadian diplomat at the Canadian embassy in China found himself the focus of international headlines after he ordered a custom shirt featuring iconic hip-hop group Wu-Tang Clan’s logo and the word “Wuhan,” which some interpreted to be the shape of a bat, Reuters reported.
The “W” logo made famous by the Staten Island, New York rap collective was misinterpreted as a bat and since it featured the word “Wuhan,” which was said to be the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in 2019, some Chinese officials took offense, The Guardian reported.
Images first surfaced on the popular Asian social media site Weibo, and reporters described the logo as bat-like, sparking additional outrage, Okayplayer reported. Bats were also claimed to have carried the novel virus.
“We are very shocked by this,” China’s foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said on Monday. “And have lodged representations with Canada, asking for a thorough investigation and a clear explanation.”
On Tuesday, the Canadian embassy told Reuters that the whole situation was a “misunderstanding.”
“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,” a spokesperson for Canada’s foreign service told Reuters. “We regret the misunderstanding.”
It remains unclear how images of the shirt, which Reuters said was made in 2020, came to surface now on social media.
The origins of the coronavirus pandemic is still under investigation by the World Health Organization, according to The Guardian. China’s top officials remain sensitive about how their country played a role in the outbreak and have looked to cast doubt that it originated from their nation, according to The Guardian.