When both the Australian society and the rest of the international community are sending strong condemnation to Australian soldiers who allegedly committed war crimes in Afghanistan, some Australian politicians, on pins and needles, accused China after Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian tweeted a satirical cartoon featuring an Australian soldier murdering an Afghan child on Monday. According to a recent report released by the Australian military, some Australian soldiers were allegedly involved in murder of innocent civilians and prisoners during their mission to Afghanistan. The severe crimes committed by these Australian soldiers in Afghanistan are irrefutably evident and undeniable. The report, released by the Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) on Nov. 19, said a total of 25 current or former Australian special forces soldiers had taken part in unlawful killings across 23 separate incidents and covered up what they did.The findings of the report were based on a four-year inquiry into the misconduct of Australian forces in Afghanistan from 2005 to 2016. In total, 39 Afghan civilians and prisoners were killed and another two were cruelly treated, said the report. What the report revealed is astonishing and appalling. In some cases, elite Australian troops shot adult men and boys in groups, blindfolded them and slit their throats, and forced new recruits to shoot prisoners for “practice.” Such cruel acts seriously violated international conventions and betrayed human conscience. They have sparked strong condemnation in Australia and the rest of the world. Kevin Rudd, former Prime Minister of Australia, said in a statement that those who are responsible for these crimes, and any efforts to conceal them, must be brought to justice. The families of those victims must be compensated for their unjust loss, he added. Australian newspaper The Australian called the cruel acts “the most shameful page in Australian military history.” Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova described the report as truly shocking, saying the unlawful killing by Australian soldiers has undermined Australia’s international standing. There were also voices made to support China’s stand after Australia made groundless accusations against China to divert attention. Some internet users pointed out that Zhao’s tweet was an accurate expression based on the Australian report and the war crimes committed against the Afghan civilians by Australian soldiers. What the Australian government should do now is to reflect on its misconducts and hold the perpetrators accountable, make a former apology for the Afghan people, and make a solemn promise to never commit such horrible crimes again. However, out of utter discomfiture, some Australian officials only shifted the blame to China, which fully revealed their hypocrisy. It seems like they believe those who killed innocent Afghan civilians and prisoners are guiltless, while it is wrong to condemn the crime. Some Australian politicians have always posed as so-called human rights defenders, but what they worship is only double standards. They should reflect on themselves and think more about what measures shall be taken to stop their country from violating human rights and justice, from interfering in other countries’ internal affairs in the name of human rights issues, and from engaging in political manipulation. The lives of the Afghan people deserve to be respected. Australia owes an explanation to them and the world. It’s hoped that Australia can face the problem, rather than trying to divert attention or play the blame game.
(-Zhong Sheng is a pen name often used by People’s Daily to express its views on foreign policy.)