Chinese Foreign Ministry

Fury over Korean pet shop's portrait of Mao

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 02 August, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 02 August, 2007, 12:00am

A South Korean pet shop has set off an international incident, with the Chinese Foreign Ministry demanding the removal of an offending sign in which Mao Zedong's portrait above Tiananmen Square is replaced with the face of a dog.

The Foreign Ministry said yesterday that South Korean authorities had asked the pet shop owner in Yongin, about 40km south from Seoul, to remove the sign but the South Korean embassy in Beijing refused to comment on the incident.

Photos of the shop sign were snapped by a mainland student in South Korea and posted on the internet on Friday.

They quickly circulated online and set off a storm of protest from netizens.

The sign - a montage of famous Chinese landmarks, including the Great Wall - was described by many angry mainland contributors as a humiliation. 'Let's reconsider whether we Chinese should admire and worship South Korean pop stars anymore. Chinese should unite and make the country strong, otherwise, even those Koreans could humiliate us,' one netizen said.

Another said: 'We cannot be cheated by South Koreans' superficial friendship. They look down on us.'

The mainland's Foreign Ministry said it had 'urgently called up officials from the South Korean embassy on Tuesday', conveyed a protest and urged the South Korean side to clarify the issue and take measures to rectify the situation.

Yu Lei , the ministry's spokesman for South Korean affairs, said yesterday afternoon that 'the South Korean side confirmed to us today that the banner was pulled down and the shop owner has apologised to China for his misdeeds'.