The editor of China’s state-run English newspaper has called Scott Morrison “ridiculously arrogant” and said he should “slap himself in the face” on live TV after the PM demanded an apology over Monday’s Brereton report meme.
On Monday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijan posted a brutal doctored meme to Twitter, in which, an Australia soldier can be seen holding a knife to the throat of a small child.
“Don’t be afraid, we are coming to bring you peace,” the caption read.
The meme was an obvious dig at the Brereton report that was released last month, in which, there are a number of horrific allegations against our soldiers, including at least one instance of SAS soldiers allegedly slitting the throats of children.
Following the post, Scott Morrison gave a virtual press conference, calling the move “truly repugnant” and demanding an apology.
“It is deeply offensive to every Australian, every Australian who has served in that uniform, every Australian who serves in that uniform today, everyone who has pulled on that uniform and served with Australians overseas from whatever nation, that they have done that. It is utterly outrageous and it cannot be justified on any basis whatsoever,” he said on Monday.
“The Chinese Government should be totally ashamed of this post. It diminishes them in the world’s eyes.”
The picture was brutal and offensive and horrible, but so are the allegations at hand here. Slitting the throats of children *is* one of the countless allegations contained within the Brereton report.
In a rebuttal to Morrison’s scathing response, editor Hu Xijin, wrote a lengthy opinion piece on the PM.
“How could this Australian PM be so ridiculously arrogant to pick on Chinese FM spokesperson’s condemnation against the murder of innocent people? Is the murder fake news? Shouldn’t that illustrator have made the cartoon? Didn’t the Chinese FM spokesman have the right to repost that cartoon to censure Australian troops’ murder of innocent Afghan civilians,” he wrote.
It is a popular cartoon that condemns the Australian Special Forces ’s brutal murder of 39 Afghan civilians. On what ground does Morrison feel angry over the use of this cartoon by the spokesperson of Chinese FM? It’s ridiculous and shameless that he demanded China to apologize. pic.twitter.com/QkBSXyf1uY
— Hu Xijin 胡锡进 (@HuXijin_GT) November 30, 2020
“Morrison should kneel down on the ground, slap himself in the face, and kowtow to apologise to Afghans – all these should be done in a live telecast. No matter what harsh words people use on them for the murder, the Australian government should have accepted it. How dare they talk back and say they are offended!”
Obviously, it’s worth noting that the investigation is still ongoing and no soldiers have actually been convicted of any wrongdoing thus far. Although the Brereton report shed light on a number of allegations, everything still needs to be solidly proven before anyone can confirm that the atrocious claims (such as slitting the throats of children) actually did happen.
But it does feel a *little* bit rich to be demanding an apology over the post when, as far as I can see, Scott Morrison hasn’t issued an apology to the families of those who were allegedly killed.
As for Australia-China relations? Well, they’re not doing too great right now.