Most of Wuheqilin’s illustrations depict violent and disturbing scenes set in the West based on recent news incidents reported by the press in those countries. In one graphic, several citizens are shivering in the shadow of a giant man who looks like a police officer with the caption “Floyds, can you breathe?” which Wuheqilin uses to refer to the anti-racism protests stirred by the killing of George Floyd, a Black US citizen who died after a white police officer kneeled on his neck for several minutes. Over the past year, Chinese nationalists have often sought to point to racism in the US, and now alleged war crimes by Australia, to discredit pressure on China for its abuses of Uyghur Muslims in its Xinjiang region, where an estimated one million have been detained over the past several years.

An interview request from Quartz to the account didn’t immediately receive a response but in a video posted today, Wuheqilin said he hoped Australia would focus more on instilling discipline in its troops and less on “exerting pressure on the artwork created based on true incidents by an ordinary artist in a foreign country.”

Wuheqilin’s most well-known work, meanwhile, looks closer to home. The painting, Crown a Jester, shows a woman dressed as a clown kneeling and handing a bloody book pierced by a knife to a man who is holding a dog collar—a reference perhaps to an insult commonly given in China to people seen as collaborators or spies with the west. Many believe the image is aimed at 65-year-old Chinese author Fang Fang, who has faced an immense backlash in the country for her published diary recording life in Wuhan, where she lives, under lockdown. Some accused Fang of “handing the West a knife”—giving other countries fodder with which to sabotage China—with her descriptions of the difficulties faced by the city’s people.

Although he’s never explicitly said the work is about Fang, Wuheqilin told Chinese news portal Guancha in June that the painting was dedicated to “China’s most influential author.” Seen through this lens, when other countries contend with—and report openly on—their own flaws and rights abuses, it is “a knife” handed to Beijing, and one that the illustrator is making use of.

“In this special period when the West is using its power to dominate discourse to press [China] harder, I think we need more literary works that convey the will of our country and people,” he told Guancha.

📬 Sign up for the Daily Brief

Our free, fast, and fun briefing on the global economy, delivered every weekday morning.