Australia demands China apology for ‘repugnant’ post – BBC News

we start with the significant worsening of relations between china and australia beijing has defended one of its officials who tweeted a fake photograph showing an australian soldier holding a knife to an afghan child's throat the tweet containing the fate image was posted on a government account and as you can see here twitter has put a warning of sensitive content on the tweet it does still allow people though to click and see the image which we've pixelated out the disturbing scene here the image prompted in outcry in canberra with prime minister scott morrison demanding the tweet be deleted he's also asked for an apology from beijing this is what mr morrison told a media briefing the posts 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 li jian zhao is truly repugnant it is deeply offensive to every australian well in beijing for us following developments is steve mcdonald and in sydney our correspondent shaima khalil who told me how the situation between the two countries is really deteriorating now eulogy in a very already very very tense relationship and i know we keep saying that we keep saying it's getting worse but that's because it is every time now there is a headline with australia and china relations we almost know immediately it's going to be bad news and look the fact that xiaolian actually condemned the findings of that report the alleged war crimes report about the australian special forces at being involved in 39 unlawful attack unlawful killings during the war in afghanistan the fact that he condemned that isn't quite shocking because he said that last week he actually used the findings to accuse australia of double standards when it comes to uh human rights violations i think it's the fact of that doctored image the fact that this image was used by a chinese official foreign ministry spokesperson used on an official chinese government twitter account and that the image itself is quite inflammatory as you described it it is it depicts an australian soldier with a knife put against an afghan child's throat with the australian and afghan flags in the background that has clearly pushed scott morrison to use some of the strongest language that we've heard him use against china he called he said that the chinese government should be ashamed of yourself demanded an apology didn't get one and said that it was um it was a slur and that twitter should put that down that didn't happen but i think the context to it as well is quite complex look this comes at a very sensitive time for australia the country the military even the public and the government they're still reeling from the findings of that report the fact that 19 sas soldiers could could be facing uh could be facing court charges could be getting could be facing prosecution because of those murders all of this makes for a very bleak picture and the fact that this comes at very heightened tensions not just politically and diplomatically but also trade tensions between the two countries all of that makes for a very bleak picture in relations between china and australia i will say this though which is worth noting that despite that open fury by scott morris and he still left a little bit of room for diplomatic maneuver he said that he hoped that this will will inspire a reset in relations he said he hoped that there's still room for dialogue but judging by uh by china's tone by china's rhetoric i don't think he's getting one anytime soon absolutely well steve tell us more about that scott morrison calling it repugnant demanding an apology we've had the daily briefing to the media in beijing what was said yeah well hua chunying was the spokesperson today and what she said is that it's not china who should be ashamed in all of this but australia i think beijing thinks it's on a bit of a winner here actually so after that tweet from jolly jen he wasn't at the press conference today but his colleague hua chen ying was and what she said is i'll just read a couple of lines she was asking rhetorically well you know has the australian military conducted such terrible crimes in afghanistan uh have they killed people in this cold-blooded way and i think that they're able to gain some traction on social media by posing questions like this you know it is interesting though we also asked the spokesperson does this have anything to do with the overall collapse in relations between canberra and beijing and no we were told it actually it's a it's a separate matter this isn't to do with all these other fronts on which china and australia are fighting one another but interestingly i did ask the spokeswoman at one point well this does seem to mark a bit of a change in beijing's position because china's always saying we don't get involved in other people's internal affairs and so therefore you shouldn't be getting involved in our internal affairs now obviously this doesn't have anything to do with china it's australia and afghanistan and so i asked maybe this represents a change in beijing's approach well the spokes woman was it was actually sort of um what in a way quite uh upset almost by this line of questioning suggesting that it wasn't worthy of the bbc to be asking this and wondering whether it was because i was an australian citizen perhaps i was sort of seeking to divert people's attention from the issues at hand and i reassured her that no in fact that it was a genuine question because it does seem to represent a shift in beijing's thinking if it's going to start making statements about all these events all over the world which don't involve china nevertheless i mean i i don't imagine how much worse relations could get between china and australia when you have this type of thing being placed on social media when you have such strong language going back and forth between canberra and beijing and if scott morrison thinks that you know this could be the start of a reset i i i mean it seems like we're a long way from that at the moment i can't see anything from this end which would indicate beijing's preparedness to start to really mend relations with australia just yet yeah the relationship really at a new low there steve sheimer thank you both very much for joining us

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