China refused to apologize after a diplomat at a State Department tweeted a Photoshopp image depicting an Australian soldier killing an Afghan.
Zhao Lijian, a ministry spokesman, recorded the viral tweet after his release on Monday. Despite the artist himself admitting that the illustration is “not factual,” he still lives on more than 45,000 likes.
Beijing doubled its position later that day when Foreign Ministry spokesman Hua Chunying rejected Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s apology.
“He quoted the Australian side as saying that the Chinese government should be ashamed. Shouldn’t the Australian government be ashamed because some of its soldiers in Afghanistan have committed such atrocities?” Hua told a Bloomberg reporter after reading a Chinese Foreign Ministry website.
The controversial image of a smiling Australian soldier covering the young Afghan goat herder’s face with an Australian flag while cutting the child’s throat was “repulsive,” Morrison said.
The doctoral illustration is signed with an English inscription: “Do not be afraid, we will bring you peace!”
Morrison considered the Chinese diplomat’s tweet “deeply offensive to all Australians”, adding that it “reduces” [China] in the eyes of the world. “
His government has approached Twitter in order to remove the post, he said.
Chinese state media publication Global Times, which operates under the Communist Party newspaper Folk Newspaper, led a number of editorials, defending a Beijing diplomat and criticizing Canberra for his reaction, given the Australian Army ‘s condemnation report last month of crimes committed during the war in Afghanistan.
Australian special forces have illegally killed 39 Afghan prisoners of war and civilians, including farmers, according to a report by the Australian Defense Forces, the results of which have been made public. The ADF has recommended further criminal investigations into 19 members of the country’s elite teams.
Among recent articles Global Times‘social sites is an essay of 1000 words by the creator of the image, Wuhe Qilin, who admitted that he created the image in Photoshop.
The Beijing illustrator, formerly described by the newspaper as a “Wolf Fighter Artist,” has also published critical works on the death of George Floyd and the wider demonstrations of the Black Lives Matter in the United States.
Wuhe Qilin, whose real name is unknown, said it was “hard to believe” that Prime Minister Morrison would challenge his work, given the Australian Army’s latest report on alleged human rights abuses in Afghanistan.
“Of course, the elements shown in the figure and the scene were not factual,” he wrote in the play. “In reality, an Australian soldering iron did not stand on the Australian flag and used it to cover the head of an Afghan young man holding a lamb.”
However, Wuhe Qilin insisted that the illustration be “based on facts.” According to him, the audience should not focus on whether the image is real, but rather examine its content.
On Weibo, China’s Twitter-like microblogging service, where Wuhe Qilin has just over 700,000 followers, the artist posted pictures of Morrison’s criticism on Monday, writing, “Do I hear Morrison has some opinion on my figure? “
He praised Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao for using the image he created on November 23 and called his tweet “huge.”
New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern backed Australia on Tuesday, calling the Chinese diplomat’s tweet “factually incorrect.”
Ardern said he “raised concerns with the Chinese authorities” but stopped further condemning China, which is New Zealand and Australia’s largest trading partner.
The controversy surrounding Zhao’s tweet is amid growing economic tensions between Canberra and Beijing, which began with Australia’s call for an independent inquiry into the origins of the COVID-19 epidemic earlier this year.
The Chinese leadership has since taken punitive measures against Canberra, including a ban on coal imports and the suffocation of the Australian wine industry, with tariff increases of up to 200 per cent.
In recent months, Beijing has accused Australia and other Western nations of following U.S. leadership in standing hard against China, he claims unfairly.
In the special options of the week Global Times he described the Australian prime minister as a “war dog of the United States,” while calling China a “peace-loving country.”
Ever since President Donald Trump was attacked for handling COVID-19 and the trade war with Washington, China has embraced social media platforms such as Twitter for its public diplomatic efforts, despite its attempts to promote Chinese culture, despite its own. citizens who cannot access the site without government-approved virtual private networks or VPNs.
However, his recent sharp and aggressive stance on issues such as his policies in Xinjiang and Hong Kong, as well as his claim to the island of a self-governing Taiwan, has shifted from a soft power approach to the so-called “Wolf warrior” diplomacy.
The term comes from two nationalist films Wolf Warriors and Wolf Warrior 2. He now describes a diplomatic style defined by confrontational rhetoric.