China has refused to apologize for a controversial doctor’s picture showing an Australian soldier cutting the throat of an Afghan child, saying Canberra should be ashamed instead of demanding an apology.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry’s reaction comes after Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison beat up the Chinese government for the “outrageous and disgusting bow” and apologized for it.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hua Chunying said Monday that Australia should “be ashamed” instead of demanding an apology for the post, Al Jazeera reported.
“The Australian side reacted so strongly to my colleague’s tweet. Why is that? Do you think your merciless murder of Afghan civilians is justified, but condemnation of such ruthless brutality is not? Afghan life matters!” She said.
“Shouldn’t the Australian government be ashamed that some of their soldiers on official service in Afghanistan committed such atrocities?” She added.
Meanwhile, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Arden said her government had brought her concerns about the post to Beijing.
“New Zealand has directly registered with the Chinese authorities our concern about the use of this image,” Arden told reporters on Tuesday.
“It was an out-of-date post and that would of course worry us. So we addressed that directly as New Zealand does when we have such concerns.”
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian shared the picture on Monday morning on his Twitter handle of a special forces soldier slitting the throat of an Afghan child with a knife and wrapped an Australian flag around his head.
“Do not be afraid, we are coming to bring you peace,” says the picture.
China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian tweeted that he was shocked at the murder of Afghan civilians and prisoners by Australian soldiers. “We strongly condemn such acts and demand that they be held accountable,” he said.
The illustration was created by Wuheqilin, a self-proclaimed Chinese “wolf warrior” artist who became known for his pro-Beijing illustrations during protests in Hong Kong last year, the Herald said.
The post comes at a time when Australia comes under fire after the government-initiated Brereton report found that Australian special forces soldiers allegedly committed 39 murders in Afghanistan.
Canberra’s relationship with Beijing has deteriorated after Australia pushed for an international investigation into the origins of the coronavirus in April without consulting the Beijing network two years ago.
China also appears angry with Australia’s participation in the Malabar naval exercise earlier this month.