UPDATE @ DECEMBER 1 | China has refused to apologise for an offensive image shared by an official on social media yesterday.
Deputy Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Mr Lijian Zhao posted an image of an Australian soldier threatening a young child with a knife to Twitter.
It prompted an immediate response from Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who demanded an apology for the ‘truly repugnant’ post.
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Shortly after the Australian press conference, a spokesperson for China’s Foreign Minister responded to the request for an apology.
“Some Australian soldiers committed serious crimes in Afghanistan,” Hua Chunying said.
“These cruel crimes have been condemned by the international community.
“The Australian side’s reacted so strongly to my colleague’s Twitter – does that mean that they think the cold blood murder of Afghan innocent civilians is justified while other people’s condemnation of such crimes are not justified? Afghan lives matter.
“The Australian government should bring the culprits to justice and offer an official apology to the Afghan people and make the solemn pledge that they will never repeat such crimes.
“They said that the Chinese government should feel ashamed. It is Australian soldiers who committed such cruel crimes. Shouldn’t the Australian government feel ashamed?”
EARLIER @ NOVEMBER 30 | The Australian Prime Minister has slammed the Chinese government and demanded an apology, after a violent and fake image of an Australian soldier was posted online.
A high-up member of the Chinese government today shared an image on Twitter, of an Australian soldier threatening a young child with a knife.
The Australian government has immediately reached out to China, demanding an apology and for the image to be taken down.
They also reached out to Twitter to have all posts removed from the social media platform.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison called an immediate press conference, labelling the move as absolutely appalling.
“The repugnant post made today of an image a falsified image of an Australian Soldier threatening a young child with a knife, a post made on an official Chinese government Twitter account, posted by the Deputy Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Mr Lijian Zhao, is truly repugnant,” Mr Morrison said.
“It is deeply offensive to every Australian. Every Australian who has served in that uniform, every Australian who serves in that uniform today, every one who has pulled on a uniform and served with Australians overseas from whatever Nation, that they have done that.
“It is utterly outrageous. And it cannot be justified on any basis whatsoever.
“The Chinese government should be totally ashamed of this post. It diminishes them in the world’s eyes.
There are now concerns that the relationship between China, of which has been deteriorating throughout the year, could now be beyond repair.
“There are undoubtedly tensions that exist between China and Australia,” the Prime Minister said.
“But this is not how you deal with them.
“Australia has patiently sought to seek to address the tensions that exist in our relationship in a mature way – in a responsible way – by seeking engagement at both leader and ministerial levels to ensure that we can openly discuss what a clear sources of tension in this relationship.
“Points that Australia feel strongly about in terms of our own sovereignty and our own independence.
“The way to deal with those is by engaging directly in discussion and dialogue between ministers and leaders.
“And despite this terribly offensive post today. I would ask again and call on China to re-engage in that dialogue.
“This is how countries must deal with each other,” the Prime Minister said.
Twitter has already removed the post from the social media platform.