American comic book publisher DC Comics has removed an image that was part of its promotion of Frank Miller and Rafael Grampá’s upcoming Batman title Dark Knight Returns: The Golden Child after an angry backlash in China.
The image showed Batwoman throwing a molotov cocktail against a backdrop of pink lettering reading: “The future is young”.
After it was shared on DC’s social media, the image was slammed by Chinese Internet users, who claimed the image is a gesture of support for the protests in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong has been rocked over the last couple of months by citizens protesting over a controversial extradition bill and expressing their unhappiness with how China is governing the island.
The bill, if enacted, would allow local authorities to detain and extradite people who are wanted in territories that Hong Kong does not have extradition agreements with, including mainland China and Taiwan.
The protests have turned violent in nature. The country's chief executive Carrie Lam has fully withdrawn the bill, but that has not stopped police and protesters from engaging in street battles almost every week as protesters want their four other demands, including independence, be met.
Upset Chinese Internet users point to the flaming bottle as mirroring the tactics used by predominantly young protesters in Hong Kong, Batman’s black outfit to the black clothes of the demonstrators, and the titular golden child to the colour yellow, which pro-democracy activists adopted for protests held in Hong Kong five years ago.
“The black clothes represent Hong Kong, the mask represents Hong Kong, the Molotov cocktail represents Hong Kong, what else here doesn’t represent Hong Kong???” wrote one reader on Chinese social media platform Weibo.
Another Weibo user wrote: “Is Hong Kong really becoming Gotham City? But Hong Kong rioters are not Batman. Instead, they are the criminals of Gotham City.”