Political cartoonist Wang Liming said he will not return to his hometown in central China’s Hunan province after his business trip to Japan as he fears being arrested by authorities, Ming Pao Daily reported on Friday.
The 41-year-old, known by his online nickname Perverted Chili Pepper, said on his Twitter account that his Sina Weibo, Tencent QQ and Taobao accounts had been closed after state media carried out a smear campaign against him.
Wang, who has been creating political cartoons since 2006, described the attacks on him as the harshest in his life and said he fears for his safety.
Although his business travel visa to Japan has expired, Wang said has decided to stay there for a longer time.
He said if he returned soon, mainland authorities would arrest him, using his cartoons as an excuse.
One Aug. 18, the government mouthpiece People’s Daily published a story calling Wang a traitor and an undercover agent for Japan, and describing his work as “disgusting”.
The story, which called for his arrest and prosecution, was shared by over a dozen news websites on the same day that it was published.
Wang dismissed the online campaign against him, and said he is prepared to stay in Japan for a long time as he does not see the Communist Party giving up its power any time soon.
He said he is hoping to secure a post from a Japanese university to be able to extend his stay in the country.
One of Wang’s controversial cartoons, which drew heavy attacks from state media, depicted red-skinned mainlanders loaded with shopping bags, carrying patriotic banners and portraits of former Communist leader Mao Zedong, and telling Hong Kong people how to be patriotic to the government.
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