Morrison demand for Chinese apology over cartoon tweet an attempt to 'divert public attention' from crimes in Afghanistan

By Xu Keyue Source: Global Times Published: 2020/11/30 16:22:12

Scott Morrison Photo:Xinhua

Chinese observers said the Australian prime minister's demand for an apology from China over a tweet by a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson showing an Australian soldier murdering a child is an attempt to divert public attention from Australia's inhumane crimes in Afghanistan.

The "ridiculous" and "cunning" demand by Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison could again hurt China-Australian ties, observers said.

According to a Monday report by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison is demanding that the Chinese government delete the tweet.

Australia is seeking an apology from the Chinese government, Morrison said, claiming that the tweet "cannot be justified." 

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian tweeted earlier on Monday a satirical cartoon featuring an Australian soldier murdering a child. Zhao commented: "Shocked by murder of Afghan civilians & prisoners by Australian soldiers. We strongly condemn such acts, & call for holding them accountable."

Chinese observers said this is a popular satirical cartoon condemning the alleged killing of prisoners and innocent civilians in Afghanistan by Australian soldiers, and Zhao's use of the cartoon to call for an investigation into the matter is reasonable, while Morrison's demand is ridiculous and cunning. 

Chen Hong, director of the Australian Studies Center at East China Normal University in Shanghai, told the Global Times on Monday that the alleged brutal murder by Australian Special Forces of 39 unarmed and innocent Afghan civilians is inhumane and condemned by China and the rest of the international community.

Morrison's demand for an apology from China is a trick aimed at diverting public attention from Australia's crimes in Afghanistan, Chen noted.

His move could cause relations between the two countries continue to spiral downwards, Chen said.

According to media reports, the Australian military recently released a report detailing war crimes allegedly committed by Australian forces serving in Afghanistan, including many incidents involving the killing of prisoners and innocent civilians. 

In response, Zhao Lijian said at a press conference on Friday, "We are shocked by the details revealed by relevant reports and strongly condemn such actions that go against international conventions and human conscience."

China calls for a thorough investigation into the matter to bring the culprits to justice, Zhao added.

Australia and some other Western countries always portray themselves as human rights defenders and wantonly criticize other countries' human rights records, said Zhao. The facts revealed by this report fully exposed the hypocrisy of the "human rights" and "freedom" these Western countries are always chanting about, Zhao noted.

He urged the relevant countries to reflect upon their own behavior, think more about how to address serious human rights violations that trample upon the conscience of humanity at home, and stop using human rights as a pretext to engage in political manipulation.

China-Australia relations have been deteriorating recently.

Under domestic economic pressure and adjustment of the nation's China policy, Morrison, US President Donald Trump's "man of titanium" when it comes to anti-China moves, last week offered an olive branch to China amid the White House power transition, acknowledging China's achievements in economic growth and poverty alleviation.

Australia has repeatedly used wrong words and deeds on issues involving China's core interests and major concerns, which is widely regarded as the root cause of the relationship falling to its lowest point.

Morrison signed an Australia-Japan defense pact during his Tokyo visit on November 17, seeking to contain China in the area and catering to the US' Indo-Pacific strategy.  


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