China attacks Australia with vile image of soldier and Afghan child

Australia slams China over vile fake image of soldier holding a knife to the throat of an Afghan child in shocking reference to ‘war crimes’ report – as Scott Morrison demands deletion and apology

  • Australia is investigating war crimes allegations against troops in Afghanistan 
  • Chinese official posted a doctored image of Aussie soldier and Afghan child 
  • The soldier is holding a knife to the child’s throat and covering face with flag
  • Scott Morrison slammed the tweet as ‘disgusting’ and called for removal  

The Chinese government has attacked Australia over war crimes allegations against SAS troops with a fake image showing an Aussie soldier holding a knife to the throat of an Afghan child. 

China’s foreign ministry spokesman Lijian Zhao posted the computer-generated image on Twitter on Monday, writing: ‘Shocked by murder of Afghan civilians and prisoners by Australian soldiers. We strongly condemn such acts, and call for holding them accountable.’ 

The gruesome image shows a smiling soldier in uniform covering a barefoot child with the Aussie flag as the youngster clutches a lamb.  

The Chinese government has attacked Australia over war crimes allegations by posting this falsified image on Twitter

The soldier holds a large, bloody knife to the child’s throat above the sarcastic caption: ‘Don’t be afraid, we are coming to bring you peace!’ 

The image refers to a recently launched investigation into allegations that a small number of Australian troops illegally killed Afghan civilians including two 14-year-old boys whose throats were slit. 

Australian soldiers cut the throats of two young boys and dumped their bodies in a river because they thought they were Taliban sympathisers 

Prime Minster Scott Morrison slammed the ‘repugnant’ post and said he has asked China and Twitter to remove it. 

‘The Chinese government should be totally ashamed of this post. It diminishes them in the world’s eyes,’ he said in a virtual press conference.

‘Australia is seeking an apology from the ministry of foreign affairs, from the Chinese government for this outrageous post. 

‘We are also seeking its removal immediately and have also contacted Twitter to take it down immediately.’ 

China’s foreign ministry spokesman Lijian Zhao posted the fake image with this tweet

Mr Morrison said Twitter should take down the image because it is false.

‘It is a false image, and a terrible slur on our great defence forces and the men and women who’ve served in that uniform for over 100 years,’ he said.

‘It is utterly outrageous and cannot be justified on any basis whatsoever.’  

Mr Morrison said he has tried to speak to President Xi Jinping and ministers have tried to call their counterparts but the Chinese are not picking up the phone. 

The provocative post is likely to worsen tensions between Beijing and Canberra which have escalated since Mr Morrison infuriated Australia’s largest trading partner by calling for an independent inquiry into the origins of coronavirus in April.

China has recently held up Australia’s coal and seafood exports and last week put a 200 per cent tariff on Aussie wine despite the two countries signing a free trade deal in 2015. 

Earlier this year Beijing slapped an 80 per cent tariff on Australian barley, suspended beef imports and told students and tourists not to travel Down Under. 

‘There are undoubtedly tensions that exist between China and Australia, but this is not how you deal with them,’ Mr Morrison said.

A four-year Australian Defence Force inquiry earlier this month reported evidence of 39 murders of civilians or prisoners by 25 Aussies serving in Afghanistan from 2009 to 2016. 

The report alleged troops would force new recruits to get their first kills by murdering prisoners in a practice known as ‘blooding’.  

The Australian government has set up a special investigator to probe the allegations. Troops involved face criminal charges and being stripped of medals. 

Prime Minster Scott Morrison (pictured in a press conference on Monday) slammed the ‘disgusting and disgraceful’ post and said he has asked China and Twitter to remove it 

China’s foreign ministry spokesman Lijian Zhao (pictured) posted the fake image on Monday

In a press briefing on Friday, Mr Zhou – who is regularly critical of Australia’s foreign policy – said the allegations make Australia hypocritical for raising concerns about China’s alleged detention of Muslims in Xinjiang province.

‘Australia and some other western countries always portray themselves as human rights defenders and wantonly criticise other countries’ human rights conditions,’ he said.

‘The facts revealed by this report fully exposed the hypocrisy of the ”human rights” and ”freedom” these western countries are always chanting.’ 

China’s criticism comes after Russia claimed the allegations had weakened Australia’s international standing.

Moscow’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the allegations called into question Australia’s commitment to protecting the rules-based world order.  

What are the allegations against Australian SAS troops? 

A four-year Australian Defence Force inquiry earlier this month reported evidence of 39 murders of civilians or prisoners by 25 Aussies serving in Afghanistan from 2009 to 2016.

These are the allegations contained the report: 

Killing villagers 

Villagers running away from helicopters were known as ‘squirters’. Soldiers would open fire, killing many men and sometimes women and children as they ran away. Soldiers would then come up with an excuse, such as the squirters were running away to fetch weapons, to sanction the massacres.

Clearance operations

After squirters were dealt with, special forces would cordon off a whole village, taking men and boys to guesthouses on the edge of town. There they would be tied up and tortured by soldiers, sometimes for days. When the special forces left, the men and boys would be found dead, either shot in the head or blindfolded with their throats slit.


In one incident, special forces were driving along a road and saw two 14-year-old boys they decided might be Taliban sympathisers. They stopped, searched the boys and slit their throats. The rest of the troop had to clean up the mess, bagging the bodies and throwing them into a nearby river. Special forces soldiers reportedly committed such unsanctioned killings in order to get a name for themselves.


Soldiers would carry weapons or equipment such as pistols or radios, ammunition or grenades to place with the bodies of people killed. Photographs would then be taken to make it seem like the target was legitimate.


Junior soldiers were required by patrol commanders to shoot a prisoner in order to notch up their first kill. Weapons would be placed with the body to conceal the unlawful killings. Cover stories would be created to deflect scrutiny, reinforced by a code of silence.

(Source: Inspector-General of the ADF Afghanistan Inquiry Report) 

On Sunday Trade Minister Simon Birmingham flagged Canberra’s willingness to pursue China at the World Trade Organisation over breaches to the countries’ 2015 free trade agreement.

He said Australia has outlined a number of grievances over China’s recent trade decisions to the WTO’s trading goods committee last week. 

Earlier this month China warned it will become Australia’s ‘enemy’ and released a dossier outlining 14 grievances with the government.

The dossier was handed to Nine Newspapers by the Chinese Embassy in Canberra, containing accusations ranging from ‘racist attacks against Asian people’ to siding with the ‘United States’ anti-China campaign’.  

‘China is angry. If you make China the enemy, China will be the enemy,’ a Chinese government official said in a briefing with a reporter.

The warning came after Treasurer Josh Frydenberg gave a speech in which he said Australia ‘stands ready’ to engage with the Chinese government. 

But Zhao rejected the peace offering, telling a news conference: ‘Those who created problems shall be the one responsible to solve the problems.’ 

Minister Birmingham refused to apologise to Beijing over its complaint that Australia had blocked 10 Chinese investment projects on ‘opaque national security grounds.’  

Earlier this month China warned it will become Australia’s ‘enemy’. Pictured: Chinese President Xi Jinping last year

Mr Morrison visited Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga (pictured together) last week amid rising tension with China

The dossier of grievances claimed Australia was interfering with China’s affairs in Taiwan and Hong Kong and condemned Scott Morrison for seeking an independent investigation into the origins of Covid-19.

Mr Morrison was among the first world leaders to propose an investigation into the origins of coronavirus, which was identified in the Chinese city of Wuhan last year. 

Among the other grievances was Australia’s decision to ban Chinese telecommunications firm Huawei from the country’s 5G network and blocking foreign investment bids by Chinese companies. 

Former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull issued the Huawei ban on security grounds, and the government has been lobbied by the state-sponsored company even since.

China’s grievances with Australia 

1. ‘Incessant wanton interference in China’s Xinjiang, Hong Kong and Taiwan affairs’

2. ‘Siding with the US’ anti-China campaign and spreading misinformation’

3. ‘Thinly veiled allegations against China on cyber attacks without any evidence’

4.  ‘An unfriendly or antagonistic report on China by media’

5. Providing funding to ‘anti-China think tank for spreading untrue reports’ 

6. ‘Foreign interference legislation’

7. ‘Foreign investment decisions’

8. ‘Banning Huawei technologies and ZTE from the 5G network’

9. ‘Politicisation and stigmatisation of the normal exchanges and coorperation between China and Australia’

10. Making statements ‘on the South China Sea to the United Nations’

11. ‘Outrageous condemnation of the governing party of China by MPs and racist attacks against Chinese or Asian people’ 

12. ‘The early drawn search and reckless seizure of Chinese journalists’ homes and properties’  

13. Calls for an independent inquiry into Covid-19

14. ‘Legislation to scrutinise agreements with a foreign government’ 

The accusation of ‘racist attacks’ refers to Liberal senator Eric Abetz’s interrogation of three Chinese Australians during a senate committee last month.

He repeatedly demanded the public servants condemn the Chinese Communist Party even through they had lived in Australia all of their lives.

The Chinese also complained about the Morrison government’s public condemnation of a ‘large-scale’ cyber attack on Australian institutions in June. 

Mr Morrison only said it was by a ‘foreign actor’ but sources told media the culprit was China. The dossier said there was ‘no evidence’ that China was involved.

The dossier also slammed Mr Morrison’s proposed law to ban state governments and universities from doing deals with China without federal approval and his updated foreign interference laws to lower the threshold for federal scrutiny of private deals involving Chinese companies. 

It also criticised the ‘outrageous condemnation’ of China by Australian MPs.

Federal Labor MP Joel Fitzgibbon blamed Scott Morrison for Australia’s trade tensions with China, saying the prime minister’s call for an inquiry into the origins of coronavirus was unnecessary and damaged relations.  

‘It’s what’s commonly known as a dog whistle,’ he told Seven’s Sunrise on Monday morning.

‘Scott Morrison ran out, harvested domestic votes here in Australia with willful disregard for the impact it would have on our relationship with our largest trading partner.’ 

‘Now our growers and producers and coalminers and many more are paying a heavy price,’ Mr Fitzgibbon said.

‘Scott Morrison did not have to damage this relationship. It was a mismanagement of that important relationship.

‘And now we are all paying the price. The only way to fix this properly is to mend the relationship but it seems the government is completely incapable of doing so.’

Nationals MP and former deputy prime minster Barnaby Joyce said that assessment was a ‘bit hard’ on the prime minister, who has insisted he was standing up for Australia’s national interest. 

‘Scott Morrison has a duty to espouse liberal-democratic views. You’ve got to stand behind your belief structure,’ Mr Joyce said.

China in May agreed to an ‘impartial and independent’ inquiry led by the World Health Organisation.

Mr Fitzgibbon argued the inquiry was ‘something that was always going to happen’ and the government should not have led calls for one to be set up.

On Monday morning Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said he is weighing up complaining about China’s breach of the 2015 free trade agreement to the World Trade Organisation.

But Mr Joyce said this would be futile because ‘China doesn’t care’. 

‘You can take them to the WTO, you can take them to the Hague, you can take them to the UN, you can take them to the angels and saints, China really doesn’t care,’ he said.

‘Now you say the wrong thing about China, now they’re big enough, they put aside all their agreements and say ”forget about WTO terms, the only terms you’re going to have to worry about are China’s terms” and the globe has to work out how they’re going to deal with that.’

He warned that China, the world’s most populous country with 1.4billion people, would dominate the world for years to come. 

‘I think we’re learning the new rules of the new world and the new world is one that China will dominate the terms and conditions of,’ he said.

Nationals MP and former deputy prime minster Barnaby Joyce said Australia must diversify exports

‘We’ve got to stop being so naive and think that China’s going to comply with WTO agreements or carbon abatement agreements because we wish them to from a liberal democracy.

‘China will comply with China agreements on China’s terms because China knows full well how much you need their trade. 

‘This is going to be a very very difficult time for our kids and granddkids,’ he warned.

Mr Joyce said China can’t be replaced as a market but the cost of tensions could be mitigated by expanding trade with south-east Asian nations like Indonesia and Vietnam.’  

‘We can’t replace China but by gosh we can mitigate it and therefore we can ride things out,’ he said.   

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