DC Comics has come under fire for deleting a poster from social media after a backlash from China over what they believed to be an endorsement of the ongoing pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.
The comic book publisher removed a post on both their Twitter and Instagram accounts after users on Weibo, China’s state-run social media platform, complained that the image was supportive of the Hong Kong protesters.
The poster, which portrayed a black-clad Batman throwing a petrol bomb in front of the words “the future is young,” was part of a promotional campaign for the upcoming release of the Dark Knight: The Golden Child.
“Why don’t they focus on making comics and not getting involved in politics? Be careful not to burn yourself,” one Weibo user wrote.
Batman publisher is latest to hurt the Chinese people's feelings after depicting a black-clad Batwoman throwing a petrol bomb with the words “the future is young.” “Why don’t they focus on making comics and not getting involved in politics?"https://t.co/hB3M6I0zY9
— Jonathan Cheng (@JChengWSJ) November 29, 2019
However, the move also caused a backlash among those supportive of the anti-China cause, with fans accusing DC Comics of being the latest company to yield to Chinese pressure.
“Apparently China rules the world now,” wrote one individual on the comic book’s Instagram account. “The future is young? No, the future is censorship.”
The case is now widely viewed as just one of many examples of individuals and corporations bowing to pressure from Beijing over their position on the Hong Kong democracy movement. Just this week, a member of the Korean pop (K-pop) group Super Junior, Choi Siwon, was forced to apologize to China for liking a tweet of a news article on Sunday featuring an interview with a pro-democracy demonstrator.
Hong Kong has been affected by political and civil unrest since early June, when pro-democracy demonstrators began taking to the streets to oppose an extradition bill that would have permitted criminal suspects to be sent to China for trial.
The bill has since been pulled by Hong Kong CEO Carrie Lam, although the protests have since merged into wider demonstrations against police brutality, with activists demanding the release of over 1,000 detainees.
The movement is also part of a broader pushback against China’s increasing interference in the city’s internal affairs, undermining the principle of “one country, two systems” that was agreed on following the handover from the British Empire in 1997.