Australia’s prime minister, Scott Morrison, has angrily reacted to a repugnant fake picture shared on Twitter by a government official in China depicting an Australian soldier cutting the throat of an Afghan child.
The Sun reports that this development comess after credible evidence from an ivestigation revealed that Australian Military forces allegedly killed 19 Afghan civilians. Those allegedly killed include prisoners, farmers, female civilians, and two 14-year-old boys whose throats were reportedly slit because they were suspected of being Taliban sympathisers.
In reaction to the report, Lijian Zhao, a spokesman for China’s foreign ministry, posted an image on Twitter showing a soldier cutting the throat of a boy who was holding a lamb and whose head was wrapped in the Australian flag.
“Shocked by murder of Afghan civilians & prisoners by Australian soldiers. We strongly condemn such acts, & call for holding them accountable,” Zhao captioned the photo.
Prime Minister Morrison, in reaction to Zhao’s tweet, called the image “repugnant” and called on the Chinese government to apologise.
“It is utterly outrageous and it cannot be justified on any basis whatsoever. Australia is seeking an apology from the Chinese government for this outrageous post. We are also seeking its removal immediately and have also contacted Twitter to take it down immediately,” PM Morrison said at a press conference.
Zhao being able to tweet shows that even though Twitter and other American social media platforms have been banned in China, government officials and local media still use tthem to broadcast messages abroad.
Zhao, in March, faced heavy criticisms after his tweet insinuated that American soldiers could have brought the coronavirus to China.
China and Australia’s relationship seems to be strained following calls by the latter for an independent probe into the Chinese government’s handling of the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.
China has also condemned public statements by Australia on Taiwan’s status and China’s human rights conduct in Hong Kong.
China, most recently, has imposed new tariffs on Australian goods and flagging Australian ships from offloading cargo in Chinese ports.