Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison is outraged by a “disgusting, scandalous and heinous” tweet from a leading Chinese government spokesman and is demanding an apology from Beijing.
Australian prosecutors are currently investigating 19 of the country’s military in connection with alleged war crimes committed by special forces in Afghanistan between 2005 and 2016.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian posted a fake image on Twitter of a man dressed as an Australian soldier holding a bloody knife to the throat of an Afghan child.
Morrison called the tweet, posted to an official Chinese government account, a “scandalous and disgusting blot” on the Australian armed forces and called on Twitter to take the tweet offline.
“It’s downright scandalous and cannot be justified on any basis. The Chinese government should be ashamed of this message,” Morrison said of the tweet.
When asked about the tweet at a regular press conference, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying replied: “Shouldn’t the Australian government be ashamed of Australian soldiers committing such heinous crimes?”
She said Australia should “make a formal apology to the Afghan people,” adding that “it is a fact that Australian soldiers have brutally massacred innocent civilians in Afghanistan.”