▲Facing a demand for an apology, Chinese artist Wuheqilin creates a new illustration in response to Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Photo: Wuheqilin
Chinese netizens have thrown their support on social media for the Chinese cartoonist who created a picture based on an inquiry report issued by the Australian Defense Department which reveals Australian soldiers’ crimes in Afghanistan after he published a new illustration titled To Morrison. The illustration features Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison covering bodies with the Australian national flag while asking a young painter who documented the murders to apologize. The new picture came in response to Morrison’s demand for an apology from China over a tweet by a Foreign Ministry spokesperson.
Wuheqilin, the cartoonist, published the new illustration on Chinese Twitter-like Sina Weibo on Tuesday evening.
In the picture, when a boy dressed in red and wearing a red hat tries to expose the murders with a paintbrush, a group of reporters focus their cameras on him with their backs to the murders. In the distance, Morrison covers the bodies with the Australian national flag and points his finger at the boy and demands an apology. Behind Morrison is a smoke-filled battlefield where soldiers are seen shooting and killing unarmed civilians.
Wuheqilin’s new work immediately gained widespread public attention with more than 1 million likes as of press time.
Many netizens said the illustration vividly reflected the recent war of words about his last illustration featuring an Australian soldier murdering a child and exposed the hypocrisy of the Australian government and Western media.
From the picture, it is clear that Morrison is trying to cover the truth as he covers the bodies with the Australian flag, while many biased Western media turn a blind eye to the Australian war crimes in Afghanistan with their back to the battlefield and cameras focused on the painter, according to netizens.
Netizens flocked to Morrison’s Twitter account to comment on the new illustration.
The comments in Morrison’s latest tweet on Tuesday to mark Australian National Water Safety Day are mostly about the new illustration.
Morrison on Monday demanded an apology from China over a tweet by spokesperson Zhao Lijian, claiming the cartoon was fake and that China should feel “ashamed” of it.
On Monday, Zhao tweeted Wuheqilin’s satirical cartoon depicting an Australian soldier murdering a child. Zhao commented: “Shocked by murder of Afghan civilians & prisoners by Australian soldiers. We strongly condemn such acts, & call for holding them accountable.”
In response, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying on Monday rejected Morrison’s demand, saying that the Australian government should feel “ashamed” for murdering Afghan civilians.
Morrison’s demand for an apology from China over Zhao’s tweet also triggered a backlash from Wuheqilin.
Wuheqilin told the Global Times on Monday that he was surprised by the Australian prime minister’s strong reaction to his fact-based cartoon.
“Morrison should not vent his outrage at Zhao, or me, but the crimes by the Australian soldiers in Afghanistan,” Wuheqilin said.
Responding to the “fake” picture accusation from Morrison, Wuheqilin said although this painting is an artistic creation, its content is based on real events, and he used a metaphor to present it.
He recalled that his inspiration for the cartoon came from seeing foreign media reports of the murders earlier last month, which “shocked” him and made him “shudder.”
According to the report by the Australian Department of Defense, members of the Australian Special Air Service Regiment put two 14-year-old boys into bags after cutting their throats and threw them into a river. It also said that Australian Special Forces would open fire, killing many men and sometimes women and children in a village as they ran away in what were “sanctioned massacres.”