CW: This story contains graphic images and references to war crimes, which some readers may find disturbing.
Scott Morrison is demanding that the Chinese Government apologise after an official government spokesperson tweeted a “repugnant” war crime meme showing an Australian defence soldier slitting a young child’s throat.
The violent meme, posted by the deputy director of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Lijian Zhao, shows a grinning Australian Defence Force (ADF) soldier holding a bloodied knife to the throat of a young child holding a lamb.
The two figures are also shown standing on Australian and Afghan flags, with several other lifeless bodies lying underneath the Australian flag.
ScoMo has demanded that Twitter delete the post, which was shared after the Chinese Government joined Russia in condemning Australia over recent reports which accused the ADF special forces of committing 39 war crime murders in Afghanistan.
Shocked by murder of Afghan civilians & prisoners by Australian soldiers. We strongly condemn such acts, &call for holding them accountable. pic.twitter.com/GYOaucoL5D
— Lijian Zhao 赵立坚 (@zlj517) November 30, 2020
“It is utterly outrageous and cannot be justified on any basis whatsoever,” Morrison said in a video yesterday regarding the Twitter image. “It is deeply offensive to every Australian. Every Australian who has served in that uniform.”
“The Chinese government should be totally ashamed of this post,” he continued.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has demanded an apology after a fake image of an Australian soldier threatening a child with a knife was posted on an official Chinese Government Twitter account. pic.twitter.com/NB5ZBD8XJr
— SBS News (@SBSNews) November 30, 2020
For the last four years, the Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force (IGADF) has been looking into rumours and allegations that troops breached the law of armed conflict – or, in other words, committed war crimes.
The inquiry report, released in Canberra earlier in November by ADF Chief Angus Campbell, recommended 19 soldiers for investigation by police for the “murder” of 39 prisoners and civilians, as well as the cruel treatment of two others while the Australian special forces were deployed in Afghanistan.
“It is alleged that some patrols took the law into their own hands, rules were broken, stories concocted, lies told and prisoners killed,” Campbell said at the time.
Obviously, this isn’t a good look for Australia and its international affairs – which is why Zhao felt the need to call attention to the severity of the issue.
“Shocked by the murder of Afghan civilians & prisoners by Australian soldiers. We strongly condemn such acts, &call for holding them accountable,” he tweeted.
My statement in response to today’s deeply offensive and inflammatory action by the Chinese Government: pic.twitter.com/fSpTvRV8gE
— Senator Penny Wong (@SenatorWong) November 30, 2020
While ScoMo and other politicians, including Australian Labor Senator Penny Wong, have condemned the Chinese Government’s actions, many are taking to the interwebs to vent frustrations at the fact that our nation’s leader is demanding an apology after our defence force soldiers were the ones who committed literal war crimes.
“interesting how scott morrison is more outraged over a doctored photo in a tweet than the actual war crime it’s depicting!” wrote one user on the Reddit forum, r/AustralianLeftPolitics.
China has called Australia out on human rights abuses, and yes, maybe the way we’ve been called out is offensive
but the point remains
— 💧Gaye Crispin (@GayeCrispin) November 30, 2020
Twitter has recently become awash with discourse under #ScomosGottaGo, with many calling attention to Morrison’s complete inability to maintain and repair Australia’s failing relationship with China, one of our greatest trade partners (and the world’s fastest-growing economic powerhouse).
Looks like Morrison is going to destroy the village to save himself and drape himself in the national flag. This China spat is going to be disastrous for the economy. #auspol
— Eddy Jokovich (@EddyJokovich) November 30, 2020
Now, ScoMo is being pilloried for his inability to remain reasonable in his dealings, especially amid a war crimes investigation that has turned the attention of world leaders directly onto Australia, uncovering incompetence and instability at the highest levels of our government.
There’s no better way to demonstrate your impotence than demanding an apology you’ll never receive.
And so it proved. Morrison looked ridiculous yesterday.
— Nick Feik (@NickFeik) November 30, 2020
— The Cathy Wilcox (@cathywilcox1) November 30, 2020