China has stepped up its condemnation of alleged war crimes by Australian soldiers in Afghanistan after Russia made similar comments.
Zhao Lijian, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, posted a graphic image of an Australian soldier slitting a child’s throat.
« Shocked by the murder of Afghan civilians and prisoners by Australian soldiers, » he posted on Twitter on Monday.
The Moscow State Department spokeswoman also alleged that Australian soldiers alleged to have murdered civilians and tortured prisoners would not be held accountable.
Maria Zakharova said the allegations challenged Australia’s commitment to protecting the rules-based world order.
A report released earlier this month by Angus Campbell, chief of the Australian Defense Forces, found special forces who had committed at least 39 unlawful murders and treated two prisoners with cruelty during the war in Afghanistan.
Senior Cabinet Minister Simon Birmingham dismissed criticism from Russia, saying Australia had shown a level of accountability and transparency that a number of other countries sorely lacked.
« We can be proud of the work our soldiers and soldiers do, » he told ABC.
« Unlike other countries that may be sweeping these things under the rug, we have done a thorough investigation and are taking remedial action to address this. « . «
« This is the Russia that was responsible for the downing of MH17 (Malaysian Airlines plane) over Ukraine, invading Crimea and grueling Assad in Syria, » he told ABC Radio.
« Hearing these comments from the Russian Foreign Ministry just tells me how hypocritical the Russians are in their ongoing attack on Western democracies. «
Meanwhile, General Campbell and Prime Minister Scott Morrison are under increasing pressure over plans to deprive more than 3,000 soldiers who have served in Afghanistan their meritorious unit citations.
Tens of thousands of people have signed a petition demanding that only veterans convicted of war crimes withdraw their quotes.
Independent MP Andrew Wilkie calls on the federal government to drop all charges against the former military lawyer who whistled for alleged war crimes in Afghanistan.
He said David McBride should be commended, but instead faces the opportunity to spend the rest of his life behind bars.
« The federal government needs to stop investigating whistleblowers who risk anything to expose what’s going on in dark corners, » said Wilkie.
Attorney General Christian Porter told Parliament it was inappropriate for the government to intervene in the case.
Mr Porter said laws giving him powers to stop such a case were never applied.
« Such an intervention would be absolutely extraordinary and would necessarily constitute political intervention in a process that has traditionally been independent, » he said.
The Commonwealth Prosecutor has refused to comment because the case is on trial.
Australia, China, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China
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