‘Outrageous’ fabricated image takes Australia-China relations to new low

‘Outrageous’ fabricated image takes Australia-China relations to new low

HIGHLIGHTS

  • China-Australia relations have subsided into a new low after Prime Minister Scott Morrison demanded an apology from China.
  • The image appears to be an aggressive reflection of the recent report that found Australian soldiers were evidently engaged in the baseless killing of Afghan citizens between 2009 and 2013.
  • China’s relations with Australia has become sour in recent months over a myriad of issues, including the novel coronavirus outbreak and trade tariffs.
  • China says the cartoon shared by the Chinese official is a popular one and condemns Australia’s recent report of War crimes.
  • Australian Prime Minister lashed out at China, saying Beijing should be “utterly ashamed” for sharing the “repugnant” image.
  • “It is Australian soldiers who committed such cruel crimes. Shouldn’t the Australian government feel ashamed?” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said.

KOLKATA (India) — China-Australia relations have subsided into a new low on Sunday after Prime Minister Scott Morrison demanded an apology from China over a botched image shared on Twitter.

The edited image shared by a Chinese government’s Twitter handle showed an Australian soldier slaying a child with a knife. The child holds a little lamb. A caption with the image reads: ‘Don’t be afraid, we’re coming to bring you peace.”

The image was fabricated and the Australian Prime Minister lashed out at China, saying Beijing should be “utterly ashamed” for sharing the “repugnant” image, multiple media reports confirm.

The image appears to be an aggressive reflection of the recent report that found Australian soldiers were evidently engaged in the baseless killing of Afghan citizens between 2009 and 2013.

In twenty-three separate incidents, twenty-five Australian Special Forces personnel, predominantly from the Air Force, were involved in slaying thirty-nine Afghan people, including civilians and prisoners, most of them were unarmed, the report found.

The BBC noted, the fabricated image shared by China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Lijian Zhao is a reflection of an alleged incident where Australian soldiers killed two 14-years-old Afghan boys with a knife.

The Australian Defence Force (ADF) which made the damning report, did not substantiate these allegations but found overwhelming evidence that the human rights violations were predominantly carried at the Army’s patrol commander level, where responsibility resides.

“Shocked by the murder of Afghan civilians & prisoners by Australian soldiers. We strongly condemn such acts, and call for holding them accountable,” Mr. Zhao wrote in a Tweet.

“These reports point to the hypocrisy of some western countries who like to consider themselves as “guardians of human rights and freedom”. Instead of pointing their meddling fingers at others, they should first reflect on their own problems and stop political manipulation,” Mr. Zhao wrote.

“On what ground does Morrison feel angry over the use of this cartoon(…)?”

China’s relations with Australia has become sour in recent months over a myriad of issues, including the novel coronavirus outbreak and trade tariffs.

Australia’s decision to lodge an independent inquiry on the origin of coronavirus has angered China, and China, Australia’s key trading partner, has imposed high tariffs on several imports including beef, barley, and wine.

As per reports, the Australian government has urged Twitter to put down the image which PM Morrison described as “truly repugnant, deeply offensive, utterly outrageous”.

“The Chinese government should be totally ashamed of this post. It diminishes them in the world’s eyes,” he said.

WARNING: SOME VIEWERS MIGHT FIND THE IMAGE DISTURBING.

“It is a false image and terrible slur on our defense forces.”

Meanwhile, the Chinese side has also lashed out at Australia’s demand for an apology. A Chinese official reportedly delivered a stinging response to Morrison’s words over the ‘repugnant’ image during a live TV address.

‘Outrageous’ fabricated image takes Australia-China relations to new low
Image courtesy of Lijian Zhao 赵立坚 via Twitter

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said the ‘cartoon’ shared by her colleague is a popular one and condemns the Australian Special Forces’ brutal murder of 39 Afghan civilians.

“On what ground does Morrison feel angry over the use of this cartoon by the spokesperson of Chinese FM? It’s ridiculous and shameless that he demanded China to apologize,” Hua Chunying wrote on Twitter.

“The Australian side has reacted so strongly to my colleague’s Twitter, does that mean that they think the cold blood murder of Afghan innocent civilians is justified while other people’s condemnation of such crimes is not justified?”

“They said that the Chinese government should feel ashamed. It is Australian soldiers who committed such cruel crimes. Shouldn’t the Australian government feel ashamed? Shouldn’t they feel ashamed for their soldiers killing innocent Afghan civilians?” she said.

Local Australian media reports say Foreign Affairs Secretary Frances Adamson of Australia had a 15-minute long conversation over the fake Twitter image.

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