Australia calls for apology after China’s Zhao Lijian tweets ‘falsified picture’ of soldier threatening little one

Australia calls for apology after China’s Zhao Lijian tweets ‘falsified picture’ of soldier threatening little one

The picture, set in opposition to a backdrop of the Australian and Afghan flags, was shared on Monday morning Beijing time from Chinese language Overseas Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian’s verified Twitter account with the caption: “Shocked by the homicide of Afghan civilians & prisoners by Australian troopers.”

The spat is the newest instance of souring relations between the 2 international locations, with tensions ramping up regardless of China being Australia’s greatest buying and selling accomplice.

Morrison stated Australia needed an apology from the Chinese language Ministry of Overseas Affairs and had additionally contacted Twitter asking the social media big to take the submit down.

“It’s totally outrageous and it can’t be justified on any foundation in anyway,” he stated in a press convention Monday. “The Chinese language authorities must be completely ashamed of this submit. It diminishes them on this planet’s eyes.

“It’s a false picture and a horrible slur on our nice protection forces and the women and men who served in that uniform for over 100 years.”

How a 'vast ocean of goodwill' between China and Australia turned sour

CNN has contacted Twitter for remark.

The tweet comes after a long-awaited official report launched on November 19 alleged that elite Australian forces killed 39 Afghan civilians and prisoners unlawfully in an atmosphere the place “blood lust” and “competitors killings” had been allegedly a norm.

The Australian Defence Power (ADF) has taken steps towards dismissing 13 troopers following the report and beneficial that federal police examine 36 alleged battle crimes.

ADF Chief Gen. Angus Campbell has stated there had been a “warrior tradition” amongst some members of Australia’s particular forces serving in Afghanistan.

The ADF dismissed 13 troopers following the report and beneficial that federal police conduct an investigation into 36 alleged battle crimes.

When requested concerning the tweet at a press convention Monday, Chinese language Overseas Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying accused Australia of committing critical crimes in Afghanistan.

“The Australian aspect reacted so strongly to my colleague’s private tweet, does it imply to indicate that it’s cheap for some Australian troopers to coldly kill the harmless individuals in Afghanistan and it isn’t unreasonable for anybody to sentence this chilly crime?” she stated.

“What the Australian authorities ought to do is to suppose totally, convey the perpetrators to justice, make a proper apology to the Afghan individuals, and solemnly promise to the worldwide neighborhood that they may by no means commit this horrible crime once more.”

Deteriorating relations

Relations between China and Australia have been frosty for years, however they deteriorated additional this yr after Morrison in April referred to as for a world inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Chinese language authorities dubbed Morrison’s proposal “political manipulation.”

Since Could, profitable Australian exports to China — together with wine, barley and beef — have confronted obstacles from Beijing, together with excessive tariffs, anti-subsidy investigations and prolonged delays clearing customs.

In September, the final two reporters from Australian information organizations in China had been evacuated after they had been aggressively questioned by authorities over a nationwide safety case involving Cheng Lei, an Australian journalist working for Chinese language state media. Earlier this month, Zhao stated the Chinese language authorities bore no blame for the breakdown in relations — as an alternative, Australia’s “unsuitable strikes” had been the foundation reason for relations taking a “sharp downturn.”

In Monday’s press convention, Morrison acknowledged the “tensions” within the relationship between Australia and China, however he stated the best way to cope with these was with dialogue.

“I’d hope that this relatively terrible occasion hopefully could result in the kind of reset the place this dialogue may be restarted,” he stated. “This isn’t the way you cope with them.”

CNN’s Ben Westcott contributed reporting.

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