Beijing, China | XINHUA | The Australian government should formally apologize to the Afghan people for the violent crimes committed against the civilians, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson said on Monday.
It should make a solemn promise to the international community that such atrocities will never happen again, spokesperson Hua Chunying told a regular press briefing.
On November 19, the Australian Defence Force (ADF) released the findings of an inquiry that heard testimonies from more than 400 witnesses. The inquiry found that “credible evidence” proved that special-forces soldiers murdered 39 prisoners, farmers and civilians during the war in Afghanistan.
“It’s all true. It happened. It’s factual. It’s what happened over there, it’s something that I witnessed on a number of occasions,” one of the witnesses, former special-forces medic named Dusty Miller, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).
At the regular press briefing on November 27, spokesperson Zhao Lijian was asked to comment on the inquiry.
“We are shocked by the details revealed by relevant reports and strongly condemn such behaviors, which go against international conventions and human conscience. We call for a thorough investigation into the matter to bring the culprits to justice,” Zhao said.
He also said that the inquiry fully exposed the hypocrisy of the “human rights” and “freedom” these western countries are always chanting about, and he called on the Australian side to stop using human rights as a pretext to engage in political manipulation.
On Monday, Zhao wrote a tweet saying: “Shocked by the murder of Afghan civilians & prisoners by Australian soldiers. We strongly condemn such acts, & call for holding them accountable.” He posted the message with a graphic image of an Australian soldier holding a knife to the throat of a veiled child who is holding a lamb
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that the image Zhao had posted was “fake” and called the tweet “truly repugnant,” urging the Chinese government to apologize for offending the Australian people and soldiers.
“It is such an over-reaction by the Australian side to my colleague’s tweet. Are they trying to say that it is justified for some Australian soldiers to kill innocent Afghan civilians cold-bloodedly but unjustified for us to condemn such ruthless crimes?” Hua said.
She said that the Australian side was not ashamed of the killing of innocents, but became hysterical when others condemned their behavior, which was “neither a mature nor a rational approach.”
When asked to comment on the handling of the issue, Hua said that the Australian government should be mature and should know how to properly handle this terrible incident.
“The lives of the Afghan people deserve to be treated equally! The Australian government should reflect deeply and bring the perpetrators to justice, as well as apologizing to the Afghan people and promising the international community solemnly that it will never commit such terrible crimes again,” Hua said.