China’s multi-purpose messaging app, WeChat has blocked Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison amid the ongoing dispute between Canberra and Beijing over the rendered image of an Australian soldier. After the Chinese government rejected Morrison’s demands of an apology over the doctored image that was posted by Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian. The Chinese government representative had posted an image of an Australian soldier holding a bloodied knife to the throat of an Afghan Child earlier this week.
Amid the edited picture row, Australian PM has said in a WeChat message that the diplomatic dispute between Beijing and Canberra will not diminish respect for the Chinese-Australian community. In the message which has now been blocked on the portal, Morrison had acknowledged the contributions made by Chinese migrants in making Australia successful and expressed hope that the community will continue to play an important role in making Australia a “multicultural nation”.
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China-Australia feud on doctored image
This latest feud on the tweet by the other Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian further deteriorated the relations between Australia and China. Zhao had reportedly posted a significantly doctored image and posted it with a caption, “Shocked by the murder of Afghan civilians & prisoners by Australian soldiers. We strongly condemn such acts, & call for holding them accountable.” The micro-blogging platform has also restricted the image with a label saying, “potentially sensitive content” but the tweet still remains pinned on Zhao’s Twitter account.
The tweet with the fake image was posted by a Chinese government representative in response to a report published last month alleging Australian war crimes. The Australian Defence Force had reportedly said that it had found “credible” information about the involvement of 25 soldiers in the killing of at least 39 Afghan civilians and prisoners between 2009 and 2013. This was followed by a widespread criticism for Australia that was eventually joined by China with the rendered image which then further triggered furious reactions.
Earlier, Morrison had said that China should be “ashamed” for sharing the “repugnant” image and demanded an apology. But China has refused to apologise to Australia. Chinese Foreign Ministry on November 30 said that Canberra should be ‘ashamed’ of its soldiers ‘committing such atrocities’. China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying even questioned the reason behind Australia’s ‘strong reaction’ after another Chinese government representative excoriated the island nation for its military’s alleged brutality in Afghanistan.
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