A photo of two Chinese civilians kowtowing in military uniform in front of a girl dressed as a female anime character has triggered a rare response from the People's Liberation Army Daily, the official newspaper of the People's Liberation Army (PLA), and caused a ruckus online.
The photograph, believed to be taken at the 2017 YACA Comic Convention, held in the southern city of Guangzhou in February shows two men dressed as members of the United Nations peacekeepers kneeling down in front of a girl in cosplay of a Japanese cartoon character.
It was posted on May 29, coinciding with the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers.
The two men could be seen wearing the signature blue helmets of the UN peacekeeping force and China's military uniform, completed with the national flag pinned on their shoulder.
“When you kneel down with this uniform on, do you know the meaning behind the uniform?” questioned the editorial, published on Friday.
China contributes more troops to the United Nations peacekeeping missions than any other permanent member of the UN Security Council.
There are 2,622 Chinese peacekeepers putting their lives at risk in restive regions around the world, according to a UN report published on July 2016.
In 2015, Chinese President Xi Jinping committed 8,000 troops to the UN peacekeeping standby force, a fifth of the 40,000 total troops committed by 50 nations.
The country's efforts and sacrifices were put under the spotlight on May 24, just a few days before the picture started circulating online, at the UN headquarters in New York, where a ceremony was held to pay tribute to fallen peacekeepers.
In 2016, a total of 117 military, police and civilian peacekeepers from 43 countries lost their lives, among whom three were Chinese.
Sergeant Shen Liangliang, who was killed in a car bomb attack targeting a UN camp in Mali on May 31 last year, and Corporal Li Lei and Sergeant Yang Shupeng, who died amid violence in South Sudan in July 2016, were awarded the posthumous Dag Hammarskjöld Medal on the same day.
“The uniform represents responsibility and dignity. Soldiers fight for the country and protect citizens in these uniforms,” the editorial continued. “Instead, those ignorant men used it as a tool in games.”
Denigrating the military uniform and humiliating the dignity of the country's army are in violation with the law in China.
Chinese netizens reacted angrily to the photograph. Some condemned the behavior of the two men, while others went as far as calling for legal action against them.
“They can be collectors of military uniforms, but collecting and wearing current service uniforms is illegal,” noted a user who goes by the name @Donghaipingmin on China's Twitter-like Weibo. “I strongly recommend the government intervenes as these people have belittled the dignity of the Chinese army.”
My anger has "nothing to do with the Japanese cartoon character or the girl’s Japanese costume. It is inappropriate for anyone to wear military uniforms with the national flag and kneel down in public,” noted another user @Dabizi_Yage.
“The government should take it seriously. They went too far in entertainment,” stated @Ashuai330.
Disclaimer: This article was originally produced and published by CGTN. View the original article at the CGTN.COM.