News

Police probe ‘racist’ cartoon featured in community newsletter

03 Feb 2021 3 minutes Read
Cllr Carrie Harper

Liam Randall, local democracy reporter

Police are investigating after a “racist” cartoon which appears to blame Chinese people for causing the coronavirus was featured in a Wrexham community newsletter.

The caricature of a Chinese man with yellow skin and slanted eyes appeared in the latest edition of the Bwlchgwyn Bulletin.

It also portrays Father Christmas angrily gesturing at the man, who is sat on a step wearing a conical cap, alongside the caption: “After the havoc you’ve caused you’ll be on the naughty step forever!”

The cartoon drew widespread criticism after it was highlighted by Wrexham councillor Carrie Harper, who said it had been brought to her attention by a resident in Bwlchgwyn, a village located five miles outside the town.

The Plaid Cymru politician said the images were “laden with racism” by stereotyping Chinese people, adding that it was designed to “dehumanise” them.

She said: “The use of cartoons to ridicule and belittle groups of people is a well known racist tool, whether used against black people, Jewish people, or in this case Chinese people.

“The point of doing that is always to make it less of an offence to then attack that group in one way or another.

‘Offensive’

“That’s why it’s offensive and that’s why it’s important to call this type of content out.

“This particular cartoon has an added dynamic in also insinuating that Chinese people collectively are responsible for Covid, which is clearly nonsense.”

She added: “A number of Bwlchgwyn residents have contacted me because they found the cartoon quite shocking.

“I have Chinese family members who also found it very offensive.”

Members of the Bwlychgwyn Residents Association, which distributes the newsletter to residents, have since apologised for any offence caused.

In a statement shared on Facebook, they said: “It has come to our attention that an item included in the recent bulletin, has caused some offence to some readers.

‘Humour’

“The small artistic drawing depicting Santa being cross with the Chinese man for the coronavirus was drawn by a local very talented artist as a bit of humour, and in no way was meant to cause offence.

“The production team of the bulletin regularly utilise these artworks as fillers when there are small spaces that are too small for another article, and this was the case in this instance.”

They added: “It was too late to recall all the bulletins to amend them before delivery, once this issue was highlighted, despite attempts to do so.

“All concerned would like to apologise for any upset or offence taken by residents to this cartoon, and will take on board all comments they have received to ensure that no such incident occurs in the future.”

North Wales Police said it was taking the matter “seriously” after confirming an investigation had been launched.

Chief Inspector Helen Douglas said: “We have received a report of a hate-related nature about this newsletter which has understandably caused upset.

“We are taking the matter seriously and are making enquiries to establish the facts. It would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage.”

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