An illustration published in a Danish newspaper has become the centre of a social media storm within China.
The Jyllands-Posten published a 'satirical drawing' of the Chinese flag with the five stars replaced with adaptations of the coronavirus.
The Chinese embassy in Denmark issued a statement, demanding an apology from the newspaper while calling the adapted flag "an insult to China that hurts the feelings of the Chinese people".
"Without any sympathy and empathy, it has crossed the bottom line of civilised society and the ethical boundary of free speech and offends human conscience," the statement said.
The satirical illustration also sparked controversy on Chinese social media, with the issue trending on Weibo, China's version of Twitter.
Some echoed calls for the newspaper to apologise while others called on the Danish ambassador to issue an apology.
Jyllands-Posten has been at the centre of controversy in the past. In 2005, the Danish newspaper published satirical images of the Prophet Muhammad.