Australian cartoonist loses job as he compares Tiananmen Square crackdown

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A renowned Australian cartoonist has said he lost his prominent place in a Melbourne-based newspaper after drawing parallels between the Tiananmen Square protests and the Covid-19 vaccine mandates in a new cartoon.

Cartoonist Michael Leunig, sometimes referred to as Australia’s ‘living national treasure’, revealed he was forced to quit his post on the editorial page of The Age daily after posting a political cartoon criticizing government pressure to compulsory vaccination.

Speaking to The Australian on Monday, Leunig said that although the editorial team censored about a dozen of his works this year, The Last Drop appeared to be an anti-warrant cartoon that was a play on the iconic photo of ” the tank man “. Leunig’s cartoon shows a man looking at a tank, its main gun being replaced by a syringe.

The original photo shows a lone Chinese protester standing in front of a line of tanks during the 1989 pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square.

While his design was rejected by The Age, Leunig posted the design to Instagram, triggering backlash from supporters of the vaccine mandates.

Shortly after the controversy erupted, Leuning, who worked at the newspaper for more than 20 years, learned that his services as a political cartoonist were no longer needed. The editor of The Age, Gay Alcorn, reportedly told the artist that he was “no longer in contact” with readers before informing him of his dismissal. While Alcorn hailed Leuning as “brilliant” in a comment to The Australian, he confirmed that his works would no longer appear on the editorial page. However, the newspaper still plans to order cartoons about Leuning’s lifestyle.

Read more: Important lessons we should learn from the Covid-19 epidemic

Leuning accused the newspaper of “waking up and lacking humor”, defending the cartoon as a faithful reflection of the times.

“The image of Tiananmen Square is often used in cartoons around the world as a Charlie Chaplin-style metaphor for an overwhelming force meeting the helpless innocent. In my opinion, this is an issue fair enough to be raised in the most locked-down city in the world, ”said the cartoonist, referring to Melbourne, which set a record for the longest cumulative Covid-19 lockdown after a closure of 262 days. .

Australia’s second largest city started relaxing its sweeping Covid-19 restrictions on Friday. The long-awaited move sparked celebrations across the city, with locals seen applauding from their balconies as the clock struck midnight.

RT with additional entry by GVS News Desk



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