Beijing’s latest insult to Scott Morrison: Chinese social media giant WeChat censors PM’s gushing tribute to immigrants as fallout from fake soldier photo escalates
- Tensions between Canberra and Beijing have reached new lows this week
- The governments are in a bitter row over doctored image posted on Twitter
- Scott Morrison had reassured Chinese Australians they are welcome here
- Also took swipe at China over Australia’s response to war crime allegations
- But post on Chinese social media giant WeChat has since been taken down
Social media giant WeChat has taken down Scott Morrison’s gushing tribute to Chinese Australians as tensions between Canberra and Beijing continue to escalate.
The prime minister made a rare post on the Chinese online platform on Tuesday evening to defend Australia’s response to a report last month that alleged ADF troops had committed war crimes in Afghanistan.
The post came amid a bitter war of words after China’s foreign ministry spokesman tweeted a doctored image of an Australian digger holding a knife to the throat of an Afghan child.
Mr Morrison also took a veiled swipe at China in the statement, saying Australia was dealing with the report’s findings like any ‘free, democratic and enlightened nation’.
But his post was blocked by Wednesday evening and now carries a disclaimer message questioning its accuracy.
Canberra-Beijing relations hit a new low on Monday when China’s foreign ministry spokesman sparked fury by tweeting this mocked-up image of a digger threatening to kill an Afghan child after a report alleged Aussie troops committed war crimes
The disclaimer said the statement involved the use of words, pictures or videos that ‘incite, mislead, and violate objective facts, fabricate social hot topics, distort historical events and confuse the public’.
The prime minister’s office said it is aware the post has been censored.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted WeChat for comment.
Mr Morrison said last year he had never experienced any censorship of his account on the social media platform.
Scott Morrison had defended Australia’s response to ADF war crime allegations in a since-censored post on Chinese social media giant WeChat
In his message, Scott Morrison had reassured Chinese Australians they are welcome Down Under amid the heightening tensions.
‘We acknowledge and greatly appreciate and value the contribution that generations of Chinese migrants have made to Australia,’ he wrote on his account.
‘Our Chinese Australian community will continue to play an important role in ensuring we remain a successful, multicultural nation.’
Mr Morrison reassured Chinese Australians that the government was taking the ADF report seriously and justice would be done.
‘Australia’s transparent and honest way of dealing with this issue is a credit to this nation and a credit to all those who serve this nation in uniform,’ he wrote.
‘Where there are alleged events that have taken place that require action, well we have set up the honest and transparent processes for that to take place.
‘That is what a free, democratic, liberal country does.’
About 1.2million Australian residents have Chinese ancestry, according to the 2016 census.
The post was blocked by Wednesday evening and replaced with a message saying the statement involved words that ‘incited, misled, and violate objective facts’ (file image)
On Monday, Mr Morrison called the mocked-up image ‘repugnant’ and demanded an apology – but Beijing refused and on Tuesday communist party newspaper The Global Times shared a new image by the same artist attacking the prime minister.
The image shows Mr Morrison covering a dead body in a war zone while telling a painter – which represents China – to ‘apologise’.
The computer-generated image reflects Beijing’s view that Mr Morrison should focus on a recent war crimes report – which contained allegations that 25 Australian soldiers unlawfully killed 39 Afghan civilians and prisoners – rather than directing his anger to China.
Communist party newspaper The Global Times has shared this new image attacking the prime minister
Tensions have escalated since Mr Morrison infuriated Australia’s largest trading partner by calling for an independent inquiry into the origins of coronavirus in May.
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.