TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — An ad showing Formosan black bears toiling away as coolies for pandas has angered a member of the Taipei City Council because she sees it as a symbol of Taiwanese being subjugated by Chinese, reports said Saturday (Sept. 26).
The ad, in an underground passageway near Taipei Rail Station, is a parody of one of the National Palace Museum’s most famous paintings, the Qing dynasty remake of “Along the River During the Qingming Festival” (清明上河圖), in which the humans have been replaced by various types of bears.
However, looking closely at the numerous crowd scenes, one can see Formosan black bears with their telltale white throats carrying heavy loads on bamboo poles and rowing a ship while the pandas enjoy the journey.
Taipei City Councilor Chen Yi-chun (陳怡君) said on her Facebook page that this type of creativity was not funny at all, but disrespectful, while also giving viewers an uncomfortable feeling.
Cartoonist Chuang Hsin-tang (莊信棠), who is also known as SMART, defended his work, denying he had given it any political meaning when drawing it in 2014, the Liberty Times reported. The work, which he had titled “Bears Along the River” (熊熊上河圖), reflected Taiwan’s current situation but should not be overinterpreted, he said.