Chinese embassy says Australia ‘misread’ offending social media post

Chinese embassy says Australia ‘misread’ offending social media post

SYDNEY (REUTERS) – China’s embassy in Australia said politicians there had “misread” a tweet showing a digitally altered image of an Australian soldier holding a bloodied knife to the throat of an Afghan child, and were trying to stoke nationalism.

Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Monday (Nov 30) called the tweet posted by China’s foreign ministry spokesman, Mr Zhao Lijian, “truly repugnant”, and called for an apology.

On Tuesday the tweet was pinned to the top of Mr Zhao’s social media account, and China’s Global Times newspaper, known for nationalistic views, interviewed the Chinese artist who created the image.

“The rage and roar of some Australian politicians and media is nothing but misreading of and overreaction to Mr Zhao’s tweet,” the Chinese embassy in Canberra said in a statement on Tuesday.

Australia’s Foreign Affairs and Trade secretary had called Ambassador Cheng Jingye on Monday to complain about the social media post, it confirmed, adding that Mr Cheng had “refuted the unwarranted accusations as absolutely unacceptable”.