Update: Reuters apologizes for posting irrelevant tweet with photo of Chinese soldiers
Published: Nov 19, 2021 02:36 PM Updated: Nov 19, 2021 11:36 PM
Photo: A screenshot of Reuters' Twitter account

Photo: A screenshot of Reuters' Twitter account

Reuters on Friday night apologized for its mistake of attaching a picture of Chinese soldiers to an irrelevant Twitter post it published one day earlier. The Twitter post with the wrong picture was criticized by Chinese netizens as racist.

"A tweet on our account regrettably included a photo of Chinese soldiers in an oxygen chamber that was not correctly described. As soon as we became aware of our mistake, the tweet was deleted and corrected, and we apologize for the offense it caused," a Reuters spokesperson said in a statement sent to the Global Times.

Chinese netizens became outraged after Reuters on Thursday published a tweet accompanying an exclusive report claiming that a Chinese professor at a top European university worked with a Chinese military laboratory on research exposing monkeys to extreme altitudes to study their brains and develop new drugs to prevent brain damage. The tweet was posted alongside a photo of Chinese soldiers in an oxygen chamber which had nothing to do with the content of the tweet.

One Twitter user named Lucasho wrote, "Reuters, I think the head of your editor needs to be repaired." Another named @rgdran replied to Reuters, saying, "so trigger happy with the ceaseless anti-China tweets, not surprised you just let this stuff go out." Meanwhile, user Saki_DZ wondered, "Reuters idiot think it's a humor title?"

Diba, a Chinese account on social media platform Sina Weibo with more than 1.5 million followers, posted on Friday that Reuters exposed serious racist tendencies. Most Chinese netizens expressed that they don't expect a Western media outlet such as Reuters to apologize for their actions.

It's not the first time that the outlet reported China-related news questionably like this, one netizen wrote on Weibo. 

Some criticized Reuters for having no journalistic integrity at all and there must be something wrong with their editors' minds. One netizen wrote that the COVID-19 pandemic has shattered many "myths" in the West including that about so-called press freedom.

Photo: A screenshot of Reuters' Twitter account

Photo: A screenshot of Reuters' Twitter account

Photo: A screenshot of Reuters' Twitter account

Photo: A screenshot of Reuters' Twitter account

Earlier when Reuters tried to walk back its initial tweet by posting a new tweet saying it has deleted the offensive tweet, one Twitter user wrote below its correction tweet, "This is the double-label racist media in Europe and America."

As of press time, the picture of Chinese soldiers in an oxygen chamber can still be found in the article on the Reuters website.

The article accused Zhang Guojie, a Chinese professor at the University of Copenhagen, of intentionally hiding his connection with the Chinese military when conducting genetic research on monkey brain. By hyping China's pursuit of biotechnology with a military use, the report apparently tries to ignite anxiety among European universities over cooperation with Chinese researchers.

In an email replied to the Global Times on Friday night, the professor said that contrary to the Reuters report, the university has had no objection or worries over his research which accords with university rules.

He said the university has noticed that the report partially selected the answers from university staff and was made up based on the reporter's subjective thinking.

"This is just a normal basic research, and all the information is publicly available. Besides the research and its result, there is nothing worth paying attention to," Zhang told the Global Times.