'Australia owes us an apology': China shares new image
China's government mouthpiece The Global Times has published a cartoon depicting a bloodied kangaroo while demanding Australia apologise to China's "wolf warrior artist".
Overnight the publication posted a series of scathing tweets about Australia and Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
The latest cartoon appeared in a piece criticising the PM for his shock over Chinese artist Fu Yu - known Wuheqilin - whose doctored image of an Australian soldier holding a bloodied knife to the throat of what appears to be an Afghan child sparked a diplomatic incident this week.
#Opinion: A Chinese artist expressed his anger and condemnation against Australian troops’ war crimes with a cartoon. A Chinese diplomat put it on Twitter. They are practicing their freedom of speech. Ridiculously, such moves are intolerant to Australia.https://t.co/xpGYzwwddu— Global Times (@globaltimesnews) December 1, 2020
It comes as the artist broke his silence on the fake image, posting a video from Beijing Capital International Airport advising Mr Morrison to "face reality" and writing a column for the Global Times that starts: "I am the one who illustrated the cartoon that pissed off Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison".
"It is totally hard to believe that a head of state like Morrison got totally bent out shape about my computer graphics work. I am flabbergasted that he even organised a press conference to fume about it," he wrote.
The artist revealed he created the image, which he calls a cartoon, on the night of November 22.
The faked images, created by Wuheqilin, were published to Twitter by China's foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian earlier this week, who said he was "shocked by murder of Afghan civilians & prisoners by Australian soldiers".
It has led to global outrage and criticism against Beijing.
"Morrison called my cartoon "fabricated," Wuheliqin wrote. "Some overseas netizens claimed it was doctored. I'd like to tell them that their focus should not be on whether or not it is a real picture or an artistic creation. It is an incident embedded in a cartoon."
The publication posted a series of tweets overnight about Australia, including a graphic listing of alleged war crimes.
The tweets are simply flagged: "China state-affiliated media".
In the latest Global Times piece defending Wuheqilin, writer Yu Luxu says: "A cartoon is cartoon. It is not a photo. So how can it be "faked" as Morrison and some Australian outlets claim?"
"Cartoon has characteristics that exaggerate some points with an emphasis on artistic expression and visual shock. This is very common around the world. This is far from fabricating facts. Still, Wuheqilin's work is based on facts."
Chinese FM said Tue that illustration featuring an Australian soldier murdering a child is based on facts and not a "fake photograph," pointing out #Australia's attempt to divert public attention from its inhumane crimes in Afghanistan. https://t.co/vcpVKkZmmg— Global Times (@globaltimesnews) December 1, 2020
The latest cartoon depicting a bloodied kangaroo in a suit with a bloodied knife next to it, is created by a different artist by the name of Chen Xia.
The article demanded Mr Morrison and the Australian government "take full responsibility for the deteriorating relationship with China" and claimed "Australia exaggerated and distorted Zhao's comment and use of cartoon over the crime of Australian troops, calling it "a false image.
"The country that owes an apology is Australia - to China. And to Afghanistan first and foremost for slaughtering their innocent people.
"It should also apologise to the Chinese artist, whose work was groundlessly smeared as a 'false image'.
"It needs to seriously reassess the damage done its own international optics caused by this double standard outburst regarding "freedom of speech" and "human rights."
#Opinion: Australia should tell the Afghans and the world how many people its troops have killed and how they will be held accountable for it. What’s happening in the real world is much more brutal, bloody and frightening than what my cartoon shows.https://t.co/BHi27B9zht— Global Times (@globaltimesnews) December 1, 2020
Meanwhile Mr Morrison appealed directly to millions of Chinese on the social messaging app WeChat to defend Australia's honour.
In an olive branch to Chinese voters, the Prime Minister has insisted the incendiary image would not diminish Australia's respect for the Chinese community at home or abroad.
Last night the Chinese embassy issued a blistering response accusing Mr Morrison of "overreacting" to the tweet.
"We would like to further stress the following: the rage and roar of some Australian politicians and media is nothing but misreading of and over-reaction to Mr Zhao's tweet," the statement said.
"The accusations made are simply to serve two purposes. One is to deflect public attention from the horrible atrocities by certain Australian soldiers. The other is to blame China for the worsening of bilateral ties. There may be another attempt to stoke domestic nationalism."
Originally published as China shares new Australian cartoon