AUSTRALIA has demanded an apology from China following a graphic ‘unfactual’ tweet from a Beijing spokesman about alleged Australian war crimes.
Lijian Zhao, a spokesman for China’s foreign ministry, tweeted a detailed illustration of an Australian soldier slitting the throat of an Afghan child. He captioned it with ‘shocked by the murder of Afghan civilians and prisoners by Australian soldiers. We strongly condemn such acts and call for holding them accountable.’ Recently a bombshell report was released alleging that 25 Australian soldiers had deliberately murdered 39 civilians in Afghanistan.
Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that China should be ‘utterly ashamed’ of the tweet, and demanded an apology for the ‘repugnant’ image. Beijing responded by blaming Australia of blaming China ‘for worsening bilateral ties’ and accused Canberra of trying to ‘deflect public attention’ from the alleged war crimes. New Zealand’s PM Jacinda Ardern said that she had ‘raised directly’ her disapproval of the post with the Chinese government, calling the image ‘unfactual’.
Relations between Australia and China have plummeted in recent years to dramatic lows, with Beijing recently raising Canberra’s wine tariffs by 200% and expelling two academics. Australia has accused China of espionage and interference as well as leading calls for an international inquiry into the origins of coronavirus.
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