Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison wants an apology from a Chinese Communist Party (CCP) official who posted a fake image on Twitter of an Australian soldier threatening a child with a knife.
Morrison called a press conference on Nov. 30 to denounce the fake image and called it a "terrible slur" on the men and women who serve Australia in uniform.
"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. Lijian Zhao, is truly repugnant," Morrison said.
Zhao published the fake image following a report that some Australian special forces soldiers unlawfully killed civilians in Afghanistan during a mission there—writing that the Chinese regime condemns the alleged acts.
Morrison said Australia would handle it through the normal channels and not engage in what he called "deplorable behavior."
Instead, the secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has called China's ambassador to Australia to set out the government's firm and clear position on the matter.
"It is an appalling, disgusting and outrageous piece of social media. It is a tweet which illustrates the absolute scourge of disinformation and misinformation in social media and it cannot be justified on any basis," Payne said.
She added, "It is the most egregious example of this sort of harmful conduct that I have seen in my time in the parliament, in my time in a ministerial portfolio and, in fact, in anybody's viewing of social media in any context."
The government was also seeking the image's removal from Twitter, but the post was still visible on Nov. 30.
The prime minister acknowledged there has been tension between Australia and China but said Zhao's Twitter post wasn't the way to handle things.
Morrison says he hopes the incident will lead China to reengage in dialogue with Australia.
"Australia's condemnation of this image is above politics and we all stand as a nation in condemning it," Albanese said.