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International relations

'Last G-7': China revels in parody mocking US and allies

Viral cartoon shows bald eagle with money printer as host in satirical Last Supper

The parody of da Vinci's "The Last Supper" mocks members of the Group of Seven along with partners Australia and India.

BEIJING -- A bald eagle seated at the center of a table turns toilet paper into dollar bills while an Akita dog without a seat serves radioactive water from Fukushima to fellow animal guests.

These were among the details in a satirical cartoon based on Leonardo da Vinci's "The Last Supper" mocking the Group of Seven and Washington's efforts to build a coalition against China.

Titled "The Last G-7," the piece went viral in China this weekend after it was published on Sina Weibo as the group's summit took place in the U.K., where the question of how to deal with Beijing was high on the agenda.

Instead of Jesus and his disciples, the cartoon depicts animal-headed figures, most wearing hats with the flags of the countries they represent. A cake decorated with a map of China sits on the table.

In the center, where Jesus is positioned in the original painting, a bald eagle represents the U.S., with a money printer in front of it, in a swipe at the country's rising debt.

Nearby, Japan, in the form of an Akita dog, pours a green liquid into attendees' glasses from a kettle marked with a radiation symbol. The Chinese Communist Party-affiliated Global Times noted that some Weibo users saw the liquid as wastewater set to be released from the disaster-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

A beaver representing Canada holds a doll that the Global Times identified as Huawei Technologies Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou, who remains detained there amid a legal battle over her extradition to the U.S.

Though the stage is the G-7 meeting, the cartoon also depicts other international actors.

India, rendered as an elephant, kneels at the side of the table, connected to an intravenous drip with an oxygen canister nearby -- references to the deadly wave of coronavirus cases that the country has grappled with. A kangaroo representing Australia reaches out for a pile of U.S. money while seated near an IV marked with the Chinese flag, symbolizing its economic reliance on Beijing.

In the foreground, a frog holds bank notes and tries to reach up to the table in a depiction the Global Times called the "separatist authority" of Taiwan that is "subservient" to the U.S.

A number of satirical illustrations mocking other countries have recently been circulating in China, with prominent government officials among those amplifying them. Zhao Lijian, a spokesperson for China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in April tweeted a parody of Katsushika Hokusai's "Under the Wave off Kanagawa" showing barrels of radioactive liquid being dumped into the sea.

The Chinese Embassy in Japan in April posted a cartoon on its official Twitter account featuring the Grim Reaper clad in an American flag-patterned robe and carrying an Israeli flag scythe. The tweet was later deleted after a backlash from Japanese users and objections from the Israeli government.

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