Fake soldier photo spurs new China-Australia fury

Relations between China and Australia took another hit on Monday (November 30), after Prime Minister Scott Morrison demanded a fake image posted on a Chinese official's Twitter account be taken down.

Morrison called a media briefing to condemn the post which showed an Australian soldier holding a knife to the throat of an Afghan child, and said Canberra was seeking an apology from Beijing.

"The post made today, the repugnant post made today of an image, a falsified image of an Australian soldier threatening a young child with a knife, a post made on an official Chinese government Twitter account, posted by the Deputy Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr Lijian Zhao, is truly repugnant. It is deeply offensive to every Australian, every Australian who has served in that uniform, every Australian who serves in that uniform today."

But China is standing firm.

The country's foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a news conference, "It is the Australian government who should feel ashamed for their soldiers killing innocent Afghan civilians."

Australia has told 13 special forces soldiers they face dismissal in relation to an independent report on alleged unlawful killings in Afghanistan, the head of the country’s army said on Friday.

Morrison said that Australia had established a "transparent and honest" process for investigating the allegations against the accused soldiers.

Australia's relationship with China has deteriorated since Canberra called for an international inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus.

Video Transcript

- Relations between China and Australia took another hit on Monday after Prime Minister Scott Morrison demanded a fake image posted on a Chinese officials Twitter account be taken down. Morrison called a media briefing to condemn the post, which showed an Australian soldier holding a knife to the throat of an Afghan child and said Canberra was seeking an apology from Beijing.

SCOTT MORRISON: The post made today-- the repugnant post made today-- of an image-- a falsified image-- of an Australian soldier threatening a young child with a knife. A post made on an official Chinese government Twitter account, posted by the deputy director general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Lijian Zhao, is truly repugnant. It is deeply offensive to every Australian, every Australian who has served in that uniform, every Australian who serves in that uniform today.

- But China is standing firm. The country's foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a news conference, "It is the Australian government who should feel ashamed for their soldiers killing innocent Afghan civilians."

Australia has told 13 special forces soldiers they face dismissal in relation to an independent report on alleged unlawful killings in Afghanistan, the head of the country's army said on Friday. Morrison said that Australia had established a transparent and honest process for investigating the allegations against the accused soldiers. Australia's relationship with China has deteriorated since Canberra called for an international inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus.