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Cartoon of the Day: Taiwan's Tank Woman

Beijing's military maneuvers 'still fail to coerce the Taiwanese leadership or population'

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(Kinamedia, @KluddNiklas illustration)

(Kinamedia, @KluddNiklas illustration)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A Swedish cartoonist created an illustration to compare President Tsai Ing-wen's (蔡英文) unflinching defiance of Chinese military intimidation with the famous Tank Man from the Tiananmen Square Massacre.

On Monday (Sept. 11), the Ministry of National Defense (MND) announced that a naval formation led by the Shandong had passed 111 km southeast of Eluanbi, before heading to the east into the western Pacific to carry out air training. Japan’s Ministry of Defense also reported that eight People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) ships had passed through the Miyako Strait on their way to the Philippine Sea.

USNI News said, "It is likely several, if not all, of the PLAN ships that transited the Miyako Strait on Monday, will link up with the carrier." On Tuesday (Sept. 12), the MND announced that it had detected 20 Chinese naval vessels around Taiwan, the most tracked around the country in a single day to date.

Swedish journalist Jojje Olsson on his news blog Kinamedia on Tuesday posted an article titled "Satire: Taiwan's Tank Woman" and included an illustration by Swedish artist Niklas Eriksson (@KluddNiklas). Olsson wrote that because Beijing's beefed-up military maneuvers "still fail to coerce the Taiwanese leadership or population," he commissioned Eriksson to create an illustration in which Tsai embodies the "spirit of the Tank Man."

Olsson wrote that just as the Tank Man had managed to temporarily stop a long column of PLA tanks, "Taiwan’s Tank Woman is what currently stands between the Chinese Communist Party and its further expansion plans in the region and beyond." He concluded that it is now up to other democratic countries to determine whether Taiwan will be able to temporarily or permanently halt Beijing's plans for conquest and will depend on their ability to develop a "deterrence that didn’t exist back in 1989."

The illustration is an homage to the iconic Tank Man photo taken during the Tiananmen Square Massacre. The original photo of Tank Man was taken a day after the massacre when an unidentified Chinese man stood in front of a column of tanks to block them from proceeding down Chang'an Avenue on the north edge of Tiananmen Square.

As the tanks were departing the square after shots were heard, the man suddenly walked in front of the lead tank, causing the driver to stop the vehicle. Like all images of the massacre, the photo is strictly banned in China.

To see the full-sized version of the illustration, click on the image below:

Cartoon of the Day: Taiwan's Tank Woman
(Kinamedia, @KluddNiklas illustration)