A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said that Canada should take the incident spawned by a T-shirt worn by Canadian embassy staff in China as a warning, after the shirt caused “offence” to Chinese people.
The rift between China and Canada came after staff at the Embassy of Canada ordered shirts designed to say “Wuhan” across the bat-like logo of famous 90s hip-hop group Wu-Tang Clan.
The embassy released an official statement of apology for any offence it might have caused, though the explanation provided does not seem to be enough for the ruling Chinese Communist Party.
In a media statement on Monday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin suggested that “Canada should take it as a warning to ensure that such incidents won't happen again.”
Previously, Wang said that it was “hard to believe that the relevant staff member, as a senior diplomat who has worked and lived in China for many years, could make such a stupid mistake unconsciously.”
Chinese state media reported that the staffer had ordered the shirts as part of something akin to a conspiracy to smear the Chinese for COVID-19 originating from a bat in the Wuhan area.
A source for China's Global Times reported that the diplomat “was in a rush. Facing questions from the Chinese firm [that made the shirt], he lied that the word 'WU-HAN' was just 'a line of Canadian words,' representing it's cool.”
An analyst specializing in foreign affairs told the outlet that “such ill-intentioned implication severely damaged the national image of Canada, further jeopardizing China-Canada relationship, which is a very short-sighted action.”
Relations between the two nations have been strained since the arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou by Canadian border officials in 2018. Following the arrest, two Canadians — Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor — were detained in China. Meng's extradition trial is ongoing, while both Kovrig and Spavor remain in detention, still awaiting a formal trial.