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China has said Australian complaints about a doctored image of a soldier holding a knife to a child’s throat are “unacceptable” and a departure from the recent report on possible war crimes in Afghanistan.

In a statement issued by the Chinese embassy, ​​a spokesman said that the complaints made by the Australian secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs were “absolutely unacceptable”.

“We would like to further emphasize the following: the anger and roar of some Australian politicians and media is nothing more than a misinterpretation and overreaction to Mr. Zhao’s tweet,” said a spokesman for the Chinese embassy.

The tweet posted by Zhao Lijian. (Twitter)

“The accusations being made are simply for two purposes. One is to divert public attention from the horrific atrocities committed by certain Australian soldiers. The other is to blame China for the worsening bilateral ties.

“There may be another attempt to stoke domestic nationalism.”

You can find a full copy of the statement below.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian during a daily briefing at the Foreign Ministry office in Beijing on February 24.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian during a daily briefing at the Foreign Ministry office in Beijing on February 24. (AP)

The furor comes after Zhao Lijian, deputy director of the Information Department at the Chinese Foreign Ministry, tweeted a doctored image of an Australian soldier holding a knife to the throat of an Afghan boy.

He was referring to the findings of the Brereton report, which alleged that Australian special forces soldiers committed 39 murders in Afghanistan.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison called the image posted by the Chinese official “disgusting” and demanded an apology.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, verifies the treatment of hospitalized patients at the monitoring center and talks to the medical staff on duty through a video link at Beijing Ditan Hospital in Beijing, capital of China, on February 10, 2020. Xi on Monday inspected novel coronavirus pneumonia prevention and control work in Beijing.  (Photo by Xie Huanchi / Xinhua v
Chinese President Xi Jinping. (Xinhua News Agency / Getty Images)

“It is deeply offensive to all Australians who have served in uniform,” Morrison said.

“It is outrageous and cannot be justified in any way.”

The tweet remains live despite requests from the Australian government for Twitter to remove the image.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison responds to the 'deplorable' Photoshopped image of the Australian soldier shared by the Chinese diplomat.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison responds to the ‘deplorable’ Photoshopped image of the Australian soldier shared by the Chinese diplomat. (9News)

CHINA’S RESPONSE TO THE AUSTRALIAN PM: THE FULL STATEMENT

“Yesterday, the DFAT secretary lodged a complaint with the Chinese ambassador over a phone call about Mr. Zhao Lijian’s Twitter post. The ambassador refuted the unwarranted allegations as absolutely unacceptable. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hua Chunying , clearly expressed China’s position on the matter later in the day.

“We would like to further emphasize the following: the rage and roar of some Australian politicians and media is nothing more than a misinterpretation and overreaction to Mr. Zhao’s tweet. The accusations made are simply for two purposes. One is to deflect public attention to the horrific atrocities committed by certain Australian soldiers. The other is to blame China for worsening bilateral ties. There may be another attempt to stoke domestic nationalism.

“Obviously, all this does not help to restore the bilateral relationship. Our advice is that the Australian side face the crimes committed by Australian soldiers in Afghanistan, hold the perpetrators accountable and bring justice to the victims.

“And we also urge the Australian side to face the heart of the current setback in the bilateral relationship and take constructive practical steps to help it get back on the right track.”


www.9news.com.au

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