Scott Morrison appeals to Chinese Australians in direct WeChat message as row with Beijing over ‘repugnant’ image 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
- But Scott Morrison has reassured Chinese Australians they are welcome here
Furious: Scott Morrison has blasted China
Scott Morrison has reassured Chinese Australians that they are welcome Down Under as tensions with Beijing escalate.
The prime minister made a rare post on Chinese social media platform WeChat on Tuesday night amid a furious row between Canberra and Beijing.
‘We acknowledge and greatly appreciate and value the contribution that generations of Chinese migrants have made to Australia,’ he wrote on his account which was set up last year.
‘Our Chinese Australian community will continue to play an important role in ensuring we remain a successful, multicultural nation.’
Canberra-Beijing relations hit a new low on Monday when China’s foreign ministry spokesman sparked fury by tweeting a mocked-up image of a digger threatening to kill an Afghan child after a report alleged Aussie troops committed war crimes.
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.’
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
About 1.2million Australian residents have Chinese ancestry, according to the 2016 census.
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.
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.
Communist party newspaper The Global Times has shared this new image attacking the prime minister