Reuters apologized for its wrong choice of photos to illustrate the story of monkey brain research, which is considered offensive and racist in China.
On Thursday, Reuters published an article titled “The monkey brain research related to the Chinese military puts top European universities in trouble.” This report is about a Chinese professor studying how monkey brains work under extreme altitude conditions.
Reuters said the research was done with the help of the Beijing People’s Liberation Army (PLA), with the goal of developing new drugs to prevent brain damage.
The news agency promoted the story on Twitter with a photo of a Chinese soldier smiling in the oxygen chamber.
This tweet caused outrage in China, and people called it racist on social media. Reuters responded on Friday night and deleted the original tweet because the photos of the Chinese soldiers have nothing to do with the story. “May be interpreted as offensive.”
Photo correction: We deleted an earlier tweet that contained a photo of a Chinese soldier in the oxygen chamber. The original tweet did not describe it and may be interpreted as offensive https://t.co/Ahtv9fj8EQ 2/2
-Reuters (@Reuters) November 19, 2021
“Once we realized our mistake, this tweet was deleted and corrected, and we apologize for the offense it caused,” Reuters said in a statement to China’s official newspaper, the Global Times.
This is not the first time this major Western news agency has encountered trouble in China. In July, the Chinese Embassy in Sri Lanka criticized Reuters for using photos of Chinese weightlifter and 2020 Tokyo Olympic gold medalist Hou Zhihui, which the country’s state media described as “ugly” with “Disrespect to athletes.”
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