Australia calls for apology after Chinese language official tweets ‘falsified picture’ of soldier threatening youngster



The picture, set towards 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 largest buying and selling companion.

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

“It’s totally outrageous and it can’t be justified on any foundation in any respect,” he mentioned in a press convention Monday. “The Chinese language authorities needs to 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” have been allegedly a norm.

The Australian Defence Drive (ADF) has taken steps towards dismissing 13 troopers following the report and really useful that federal police examine 36 alleged conflict crimes.

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

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The ADF dismissed 13 troopers following the report and really useful that federal police conduct an investigation into 36 alleged conflict 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 facet 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 folks in Afghanistan and it isn’t unreasonable for anybody to sentence this chilly crime?” she mentioned.

“What the Australian authorities ought to do is to assume totally, convey the perpetrators to justice, make a proper apology to the Afghan folks, and solemnly promise to the worldwide group that they’ll 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 global inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic.

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

Since Might, 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 have been evacuated after they have 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 mentioned the Chinese language authorities bore no blame for the breakdown in relations — as a substitute, Australia’s “improper strikes” have been the foundation reason behind relations taking a “sharp downturn.”

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

“I’d hope that this slightly terrible occasion hopefully could result in the kind of reset the place this dialogue will be restarted,” he mentioned. “This isn’t the way you take care of them.”

CNN’s Ben Westcott contributed reporting.



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