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Australia demands apology after Chinese official tweets ‘falsified image’ of soldier threatening child

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The picture, set towards a backdrop of the Australian and Afghan flags, was shared on Monday morning Beijing time from Chinese language International Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian’s verified Twitter account with the caption: “Shocked by the homicide of Afghan civilians & prisoners by Australian troopers.”

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The spat is the most recent instance of souring relations between the 2 international locations, with tensions ramping up regardless of China being Australia’s biggest trading partner.

Morrison stated Australia wished an apology from the Chinese language Ministry of International Affairs and had additionally contacted Twitter asking the social media big to take the publish down.

“It’s completely outrageous and it can’t be justified on any foundation in anyway,” he said in a press convention Monday. “The Chinese language authorities needs to be completely ashamed of this publish. It diminishes them on the planet’s eyes.

“It’s a false picture and a horrible slur on our nice protection forces and the women and men who served in that uniform for over 100 years.”

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CNN has contacted Twitter for remark.

The tweet comes after a long-awaited official report launched on November 19 alleged that elite Australian forces killed 39 Afghan civilians and prisoners unlawfully in an surroundings the place “blood lust” and “competitors killings” have been allegedly a norm.

The Australian Defence Drive (ADF) has taken steps towards dismissing 13 troopers following the report and really helpful that federal police examine 36 alleged warfare crimes.

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ADF Chief Gen. Angus Campbell has stated there had been a “warrior tradition” amongst some members of Australia’s particular forces serving in Afghanistan.

The ADF dismissed 13 troopers following the report and really helpful that federal police conduct an investigation into 36 alleged warfare crimes.

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When requested concerning the tweet at a press convention Monday, Chinese language International Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying accused Australia of committing severe crimes in Afghanistan.

“The Australian facet reacted so strongly to my colleague’s private tweet, does it imply to point out that it’s affordable for some Australian troopers to coldly kill the harmless folks in Afghanistan and it’s not unreasonable for anybody to sentence this chilly crime?” she stated.

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“What the Australian authorities ought to do is to suppose totally, convey the perpetrators to justice, make a proper apology to the Afghan folks, and solemnly promise to the worldwide group that they are going to by no means commit this horrible crime once more.”

Deteriorating relations

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Relations between China and Australia have been frosty for years, however they deteriorated additional this yr after Morrison in April known as for a global inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Chinese language authorities dubbed Morrison’s proposal “political manipulation.”

Since Could, profitable Australian exports to China — together with wine, barley and beef — have confronted obstacles from Beijing, together with excessive tariffs, anti-subsidy investigations and prolonged delays clearing customs.

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In September, the final two reporters from Australian information organizations in China have been evacuated after they have been aggressively questioned by authorities over a nationwide safety case involving Cheng Lei, an Australian journalist working for Chinese language state media. Earlier this month, Zhao stated the Chinese language authorities bore no blame for the breakdown in relations — as an alternative, Australia’s “incorrect strikes” have been the basis reason for relations taking a “sharp downturn.”

In Monday’s press convention, Morrison acknowledged the “tensions” within the relationship between Australia and China, however he stated the best way to cope with these was with dialogue.

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“I’d hope that this quite terrible occasion hopefully might result in the kind of reset the place this dialogue will be restarted,” he stated. “This isn’t the way you cope with them.”

CNN’s Ben Westcott contributed reporting.

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