Scott Morrison, Prime Minister of Australia, is asking the Chinese Government to delete a tweet attacking the Australian Defence Force deployed in Afghanistan, saying that it is fake. The PM was referring to a tweet posted the Spokesperson of Chinese Foreign Ministry, Lijian Zhao, who had shared a fake image on his official Twitter account which allegedly showed an Australian soldier slitting the throat of an Afghan child.
“Shocked by murder of Afghan civilians and prisoners by Australian soldiers. We strongly condemn such acts, and call for holding them accountable,” Zhao tweeted. The image showed a soldier in combat uniform beheading a child.
Shocked by murder of Afghan civilians & prisoners by Australian soldiers. We strongly condemn such acts, &call for holding them accountable. pic.twitter.com/GYOaucoL5D— Lijian Zhao 赵立坚 (@zlj517) November 30, 2020
According to the Australian government, the image is fake, and said that it is a digitally morphed photo.
Australian PM Scott Morrison demands apology from China
Reacting to the fake image, Australian PM Scott Morrison demanded an apology from the Chinese government and asked them to delete the “repugnant” image attacking the Australian Defence Forces. Mr Morrison added that the Australian government has formally requested the Chinese government to delete the post and contacted Twitter to have the post removed.
“It is utterly outrageous and cannot be justified on any basis whatsoever, the Chinese government should be really ashamed of this,” Morrison said. “Australia’s seeking an apology from the Chinese Government for this outrageous post,” he added.
The Australian PM also acknowledged the spiralling tensions between the two countries but stated that this is not how it should be dealt with.
The Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne stated that this was the most “egregious” example of social media disinformation she had witnessed in her career and that there was no justification for the tweet posted by the Chinese government. “The Australian Government has called in the Chinese ambassador and sought an apology from the ambassador in relation to this tweet,” she said.
The spat over the fake image between China and Australia comes in the backdrop of increasing animosity between the two countries. Earlier this year, as the coronavirus outbreak that first emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, galloped the world, Australia spearheaded the nations that demanded an impartial inquiry into the origins of the contagion.
A fierce pushback had followed since then from Beijing and its pugnacious diplomats, who have tried to fend off the demands into the investigation of the origins of the coronavirus outbreak by making outrageously misleading claims about the source of infection, intimidating economic punishments and indulging in psychological warfare to coerce and manipulate its detractors.
Ever since Australia demanded an impartial investigation into the origins of the coronavirus which first emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, it has come under the attack from China. From overt economic threats to psychological warfare, Beijing has employed every trick in its playbook to attack Australia. China has also been quietly reducing its imports from Australia, inflicting economic punishments for its defiance to hold Beijing accountable for the coronavirus outbreak.
China’s attack comes in the wake of Australian forces’ war crimes inquiry
The fake image from the Chinese Foreign Ministry came on the heels of a recently published four-year military inquiry report of the Australian forces that brought to light the pervasive culture of the special forces deployed in Afghanistan following the 9/11 attacks in the United States.
The independent inquiry commissioned by the Australian government painted a grim picture of how some of the Australian Armed Forces indulged in wanton violence, killing innocents and prisoners and methodically covering it up.
India too a victim of Chinese propaganda and misinformation
Australia is not the only victim of China’s state sponsored propaganda war. India has also been at the receiving end of the Chinese propaganda machinery. Recently, as WHO geared up to investigate the origins of the coronavirus, Beijing made an absurd and preposterous claim, stating that India was the source of coronavirus pandemic.
In a desperate attempt to shift the blame of coronavirus, Chinese ‘researchers’ from Chinese Academy of Sciences claimed that the pandemic originated in India in summer of 2019.