Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Monday, November 30 angrily denounced a “scandalous” Tweet from Zhao Lijian, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, and asked Beijing to formally apologize.
Zhao Lijian posted on the American social network Twitter staged (beware, this image can be shocking) in which a man, dressed as an Australian soldier, holds a knife full of blood on the throat of an Afghan child. The image aroused the indignation of many Internet users.
The dissemination of this Tweet comes a few days after the publication of a report on war crimes allegedly committed by Australian soldiers in Afghanistan between 2005 and 2016. For Mr. Morrison, this Tweet which comes from an official account of the Chinese government is a “Scandalous and disgusting insult” against the Australian armed forces, and called on Twitter to delete it. “It cannot be justified on any basis. The Chinese government should be ashamed of this publication ”, he says.
“It does not increase them in the eyes of the whole world”, said the Australian Prime Minister. Relations between Canberra and Beijing have steadily deteriorated in recent months. China, Australia’s largest trading partner, recently retaliated against Canberra, suspending imports of a large number of agricultural products, including beef, barley and timber. .
The state-controlled Chinese press has also repeatedly attacked Australia in several areas. For its part, Australia has excluded Chinese telecoms giant Huawei from the deployment of the 5G network and has called for an independent investigation into the origin of the coronavirus.
The Chinese government spokesperson accompanied his Tweet with a text in which he said “Shocked by the killings of Afghan civilians and prisoners [perpétrés] by Australian soldiers ”. “We strongly condemn such acts, and we ask that they be held accountable”, he added.
This post is the latest example of a new type of aggressive communication from the Chinese government towards foreign countries. Since last year, many diplomats have taken to Twitter, a social network blocked in China, where they sometimes vehemently and controversially defend their government’s position.