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China has doubled down on its criticism of Australia after refusing to remove a tweet featuring a digital illustration of an Australian soldier appearing to murder a child in Afghanistan and accusing the Australian government of using the row to divert attention from alleged “atrocities” by Australian soldiers.Both governments issued statements on Tuesday as the matter spilled from Twitter to other public forums and the Australian government used the Chinese social platform WeChat to address “the fake photo” but also praise aspects of the Australian-Chinese relationship.The Chinese foreign ministry refused to take down the controversial tweet by its spokesman, Zhao Lijian, despite demands on Monday by Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison that the tweet be deleted and China apologise.Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China.The tweet included an image targeting the behaviour of Australian soldiers in Afghanistan as revealed by a recent domestic war crimes inquiry. It depicted a grinning Australian soldier holding a bloody knife to the throat of a child, who in turn is holding a lamb. The child’s face is draped in the Australian flag and a pained expression is visible.Morrison called Zhao’s tweet containing the image “falsified”, “repugnant” and “utterly outrageous”.On Tuesday, the Chinese embassy in Canberra issued a statement accusing the Australian government of trying to deflect attention from alleged war crimes in Afghanistan and stoking nationalism.The embassy said it had received a phone call on Monday from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade secretary Frances Adamson, who had complained to Chinese ambassador Cheng Jingye about Zhao’s tweet.“We would like to further stress the following: the rage and roar of some Australian politicians and media is nothing but a misreading of, and overreaction to, Mr Zhao‘s tweet,” the official statement said.“The accusations made are simply to serve two purposes. One is to deflect public attention from the horrible atrocities by certain Australian soldiers. The other is to blame China for the worsening of bilateral ties. There may be another attempt to stoke domestic nationalism.” Australian soldiers face dismissal over report on war crimes in AfghanistanCanberra later released a statement in Chinese on the prime minister’s official account on WeChat, the most popular Chinese social media messaging system.The article, titled “A message from the Prime Minister”, was written in the first person in an apparent attempt to appeal to a Chinese audience. Morrison said he was proud of the Australian army and emphasised that the Australian government would handle problems revealed in the war crimes report in a “transparent and honest way”.Morrison was quoted praising China’s contribution towards Australia throughout the coronavirus pandemic, and said he was happy to welcome overseas Chinese students who arrived in Australia.“The post on the fake photo of the Australian soldier will not weaken people’s respect and praise towards the Australian-Chinese community, and it will not cripple our friendship with the Chinese people,” the statement said.Twitter has not taken down Zhao’s tweet despite Canberra’s calls, but said it had labelled it as “sensitive media”. By Tuesday afternoon, the tweet was pinned to the top of Zhao’s tweets.Twitter said Zhao’s account was labelled as a Chinese government account and already provided the public with context to “better inform their interpretation of its intent”.“For world leaders, politicians and official government accounts, direct interactions with fellow public figures, comments on political issues of the day, or foreign policy sabre-rattling on economic or military issues are generally not in violation of the Twitter Rules,” the statement said.China’s state media repeated the narrative from the Chinese foreign ministry and echoed the sentiment of Zhao’s original tweet.“What the Australian government should do now is to reflect deeply and bring the perpetrators to justice, make a formal apology to the Afghan people and solemnly promise the international community they will never commit this terrible crime again,” a People’s Daily commentary said.State tabloid Global Times published an interview with the illustrator, known as Wuheqilin, who said his image was inspired by the findings of an Australian war crimes inquiry published last month. The inquiry found evidence that 39 unarmed Afghan prisoners and civilians were killed by 19 Australian soldiers.“Although the image is not a factual photo, it was created on the basis of facts and expressed as a metaphor,” Wuheqilin said. “I hope more people will see this image and pay attention to this tragedy that took place in reality.”Meanwhile, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern weighed in and said her government had also raised concerns with China about the image.“New Zealand has registered directly with Chinese authorities our concern over the use of that image,” Ardern told reporters in parliament in the capital, Wellington.“It was an unfactual post, and of course that would concern us. So that is something we have raised directly in the manner that New Zealand does when we have such concerns.”In a show of American backing for Australia, the US National Security Council ridiculed China’s recent decision to impose a 212 per cent tariff on Australian wine, which the Chinese government said was to stop domestic production from being damaged by cheap imports. Australia vows WTO action over China barley trade spat“Australian wine will be featured at a White House holiday reception this week. Pity vino lovers in China who, due to Beijing’s coercive tariffs on Aussie vintners, will miss out. AussieAussieAussieOiOiOi!,” the NSC tweeted on Tuesday.The Twitter dispute is the latest in an intense downward spiral of Sino-Australian relations. Recently, trade has been the focus of the tensions, with China taking a range of informal actions against Australian products, including coal, timber, cotton, beef and wine.But the Chinese foreign ministry said the latest dispute had nothing to do with the Sino-Australia relations.More from South China Morning Post: * China-Australia relations: PM Scott Morrison responds to Beijing’s list of 14 grievances * China says Australia-Japan defence pact should not threaten other countries’ interests * Australia establishes Afghanistan war crimes prosecutor after years of whistle-blower reportsThis article China doubles down on criticising Australia over Afghanistan first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2020.
A top professor of National University of Singapore was dismissed on Tuesday (1 December) for sexual misconduct against a student.
Despite high legal costs and a Singapore court ruling against her in a defamation suit filed by a surgeon, Serene Tiong has no intention of giving up the fight.
ION Orchard and Marina Bay Sands Casino were among the new locations added to public places visited by COVID-19 cases recently.
Fulham climbed out of the Premier League relegation zone on Monday after finally solving their penalty woes in a shock 2-1 win at Leicester, while West Ham rode their luck to move into fifth place with a dramatic 2-1 victory against Aston Villa.
Cooperation between the United States and European Union is “all the more important” in the Indo-Pacific and Africa to counter growing Chinese influence in those areas, according to a new report by the chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee.This comes as the EU is reportedly planning to ask US President-elect Joe Biden’s incoming administration to seize a “once in a generation” opportunity to forge a new global alliance to meet the “strategic challenge” posed by China.Calls for a transatlantic alliance are on the rise in the US and Europe after Biden’s victory over Donald Trump, who has adopted a hostile attitude toward the EU and insisted on tackling China by Washington’s own means.Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China.A recently published report by Senator Jim Risch, a Republican from Idaho, says the US should work with the EU to foster private-sector investments in the Indo-Pacific area, especially in infrastructure projects, and to ensure maritime security in the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean.The report said the next steps “are to build upon the existing political will to cooperate in the region and to decide where to focus and what cooperation means in practice”.US-EU coordination has been much weaker in the Indo-Pacific than in Africa, according to the report.“The degree to which China can dominate the Indo- Pacific will have a direct impact on its ability to project power globally,” it said.“As both the United States and Europe increasingly prioritise the Indo-Pacific, transatlantic cooperation is forming in the region, though much more nascent than in Africa,” it added. Nato must focus harder on China’s military rise, urges reportMost Indo-Pacific countries are generally seen as a close security partner for the US, while Africa is considered by the EU as a “neighbour” because of the close geographical and security links.Beijing has made vast investments in Africa through the Belt and Road Initiative, while it recently signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) deal with most Asia-Pacific economies, creating the world’s largest free trade bloc.In another development, the Financial Times reported on Sunday that the European Commission, the executive arm of the EU, is preparing a detailed proposal to the US to form a new global alliance to meet the strategic challenges posed by China.The draft policy, titled “A New EU-US Agenda for Global Change”, proposes joining forces to shape the digital regulatory environment, including by adopting common approaches to antitrust enforcement and data protection, cooperating on screening of sensitive foreign investments, and working together to fight threats such as cyber-hacking, the British media reported.“As open democratic societies and market economies, the EU and the US agree on the strategic challenge presented by China’s growing international assertiveness, even if we do not always agree on the best way to address this,” it added.An EU spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.The paper, produced jointly by the commission and the EU’s high representative for foreign policy, is expected to be submitted for endorsement by national leaders at a meeting on December 10-11, according to the report. It suggests an EU-US summit in the first half of 2021 as the moment to launch the new transatlantic agenda.More from South China Morning Post: * China should be prepared in case relations with US get worse under Joe Biden, government adviser warns * Joe Biden’s foreign policy team to reject Trump’s ‘America First’ mantra * US-China relations: Trump fury is gone but Joe Biden more than capable of talking tough * ‘We’re a Pacific power’: Joe Biden faces pressure to hold hard line of defence against ChinaThis article US and EU should join forces to check China’s influence in Africa, Indo-Pacific, Republican senator proposes first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2020.
Beijing on Tuesday welcomed home a 160-year-old bronze horse head statue to the Old Summer Palace from which it was stolen, a donation from Macau’s late casino king Stanley Ho Hung-sun.It is one of 12 bronze animal head sculptures representing the Chinese zodiac that were part of a fountain at the palace known as the Yuanmingyuan.The pieces were stolen from Beijing in 1860 when Anglo-French troops invaded China during the Second Opium War and left the site burned and reduced largely to rubble.Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China.The Chinese state’s watchdog for cultural relics, the National Cultural Heritage Administration, said the horse head marked the first important piece of Yuanmingyuan’s missing relic to return to its home, according to state media. Six other pieces previously brought back to China are being exhibited in museums.Ho, the patriarch of Asia’s largest casino empire for half a century, bought the artefact for US$8.9 million at a Sotheby’s auction in Hong Kong in 2007, displaying the horse head in the city and neighbouring Macau for more than a decade.Ho later donated the 160-year-old sculpture to the Chinese government in 2019, before the “King of Gambling” passed away on May 26 this year.The Chinese Communist Party has portrayed the stolen animal heads as symbols of the nation’s “century of humiliation,” which started in the mid-19th century and ended when the People’s Republic of China was founded in 1949. Over that period, China was invaded by numerous colonial powers.On Tuesday, the National Cultural Heritage Administration and Beijing People‘s Government hosted a ceremony to celebrate the return of the looted artefact under the care of the Yuanmingyuan administration.Liu Yuzhu, director of the National Cultural Heritage Administration, was quoted by state media as saying the repatriation of the horse head represented “a successful example of the return of lost cultural relics in the new era.”Over the past two decades, wealthy collectors have been buying the looted antiques at art auctions and returned them. To date, including the bronze horse figure, seven of the 12 animal head sculptures had been returned to China.Ho also paid HK$6 million for the collection’s pig head in 2003, donating it to the Poly Art Museum in Beijing.The statues representing the Chinese zodiac signs of the dog, rooster, dragon, sheep and snake remain missing.The Post contacted the Ho family for comment.This article Bronze horse head, donated by late Stanley Ho, becomes first of zodiac collection returned to Beijing’s Old Summer Palace after theft in 1860s first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2020.
A Turkish research ship at the centre of a row with Greece over potential gas riches in the eastern Mediterranean has returned to port, Turkey's energy ministry said Monday.
Prodding her cows forward with a long stick, Asya Petrosyan drives the herd along the snow-covered Lachin corridor, the last road out of Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) has confirmed another five COVID-19 cases in Singapore as of noon on Monday (30 November), taking the total to 58,218.
US President Donald Trump's administration wages its last major policy fight before the Supreme Court Monday as it seeks to exclude undocumented immigrants from the population count used to determine states' representation in Congress.
We sift out five companies with dividend yields that beat inflation.The post 5 Companies with Dividend Yields Above 5% appeared first on The Smart Investor.
PM Lee Hsien Loong said this on the first day of his defamation suit against The Online Citizen’s chief editor Terry Xu on Monday (30 November).
Azerbaijan on Tuesday completed reclaiming territory held by Armenian forces for more than a quarter-century after a peace deal ended six weeks of fierce fighting over Nagorno-Karabakh. Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev hailed the restoration of control over the areas as a “historic victory” and a demonstration of his nation's “unbending spirit.” “We all lived with one dream, and now we fulfilled it," Aliyev said in an address to the nation.
A resurgence in Covid-19 cases in the UK in recent months has stemmed the flow of Hongkongers looking to buy property and relocate there. This may just be a lull before a special visa process kicks off in January for British National (Overseas) passport holders.The British government imposed a second national lockdown in early November after a sharp uptick in Covid-19 infections. It will transition to more flexible restrictions starting December 2 at a time when it’s liberalising immigration policy for Hongkongers in reaction to China imposing a national security law on Hong Kong in June.The government will accept applications from January 31 from BN (O) passport holders and their immediate family members for a special class of visa that puts them on the path to UK citizenship. Hongkongers were the second busiest foreign buyers of UK property from January to September this year, according to Astons.Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China.“At the moment, it’s a trickle because of Covid-19,” said Kevin Bowers, a Hong Kong-based lawyer at Bowers Law. “I expect the flood to start again and anticipate thousands of applications for us” which may inundate the immigration services by then, he added.Bowers is organising a consortium of companies to deliver “the whole package” to those considering uprooting themselves from the city, including education, property, cultural assimilation, and even pet relocation services.Hongkongers bought £305.6 million (US$405 million) of prime London houses in the first nine months of the year, making them the busiest foreign investors after the French, investment immigration adviser Astons said last month.One of the beneficiaries is Battersea Power Station, a staple of central London that is undergoing a £9 billion redevelopment with thousands of new flats. The project has seen a 150 per cent jump in enquiries from Hong Kong, helping the developer more than double its year-on-year sales since March.“Part of that is no doubt driven by the BN (O),” said Philip Mason, Battersea Power Station’s International Director. “But London has always been considered a safe haven for people to invest, and the low value of the pound also certainly helps as well.”The British pound has gained only 0.8 per cent against the US dollar this year, making UK assets relatively stable for Hong Kong investors, while other major currencies has appreciated by 4 to 10 per cent.The new visa policy for BN (O) passport holders is the UK response to Beijing’s security law for Hong Kong in late June, which the Boris Johnson government said has eroded the freedoms under the “one country, two systems” framework agreed before the city’s handover to China’s sovereignty in 1997.Hong Kong’s uncertain political future, paired with a confluence of economic factors including the UK’s extension of a holiday on property stamp duties, has sparked demand for UK assets.AWS Prime, a London-based firm that connects wealthy clients with off-market high-end properties, saw a 50 per cent increase in enquiries from Hong Kong this year. Hongkongers make up one-third of its clients in Asia with at least £1 million to spend versus one-tenth from China.To prepare for the expected flood of applications, AWS Prime will open a satellite office in Hong Kong sometime next year, as well as one in Singapore, director Alexander Leighton-Smith said.Bowers said his own property agents in the UK are in the process of relocating to Hong Kong “because they are so confident this is happening.” He likens the current situation in Hong Kong to pre-1997 handover.“The only time comparable to today is before the handover,” Bowers added. “Everyone said ‘Oh, everyone is gonna leave’ and then not so many people did. But this is different. This is a line in the sand.”More from South China Morning Post: * As Hongkongers rush for UK property, beware of this 40 per cent inheritance tax pain * Hongkongers emerge as some of the busiest buyers of UK homes, as they snap up property ahead of exodus by BN(O) passport holders * China takes issue with British visa policy for Hongkongers, threatens to stop recognising BN(O) passportsThis article Covid-19 lockdown tempers interest in UK property from Hongkongers in lull before January visa floodgate first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2020.
A war of words between Australia and China has intensified, with the Chinese foreign ministry refusing to remove a tweet featuring a meme-like illustration of an Australian soldier appearing to murder a child.The image was posted on Twitter on Monday morning by Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian, accompanied by the text: “Shocked by murder of Afghan civilians & prisoners by Australian soldiers. We strongly condemn such acts, & call for holding them accountable.”Foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said she stood by her subordinate Zhao over the post, which drew an immediate and furious response from Canberra. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison also demanded the removal of the tweet.Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China.“Australia has already confirmed that their soldiers have committed serious war crimes in Afghanistan ... The details are shocking and their brutal behaviour has been strongly condemned by the international community,” Hua said.“Australia has shown a strong response to my colleague ... and said the Chinese government should feel ashamed. Shouldn’t Australia feel ashamed for sending their soldiers to commit such atrocities and killing innocent civilians in Afghanistan?” War crimes: Australian troops unlawfully killed 39 Afghans, report findsAsked whether the tweet should be deleted, Hua said it was between Twitter and Australia. She also asked for China’s comments not to be perceived as a result of the downward spiral in Sino-Australian relations.Twitter has not responded to an email inquiry from the South China Morning Post. The tweet has been pinned to the top of Zhao’s tweets.The Chinese ambassador to Australia, Cheng Jingye, has been summoned for a meeting with Australian officials, while Morrison also said Canberra’s embassy in China would make representations.In a press conference shortly after the tweet was posted, Morrison described the tweet as “falsified”, “repugnant” and “utterly outrageous”.Zhao’s tweet was referring to a war crimes inquiry finding earlier this month that Australian troops had killed civilians in Afghanistan. China and Russia have condemned Canberra over the Brereton report and called the Australian government hypocritical.The report found evidence Australian special forces committed at least 39 unlawful killings during the Afghanistan war in 2009-2013.Morrison said his government had reached out to Beijing and contacted Twitter to have the post removed. “Australia is seeking an apology from the Chinese government for this outrageous post,” he said. “We’re also seeking its removal immediately.”Morrison said the tweet could not be justified “on any basis whatsoever” and said the Chinese government should be “totally ashamed” of the post. China-Australia trade at ‘freezing point’ as 200 per cent wine duty looms“There are undoubtedly tensions that exist between China and Australia, but this is not how you deal with them,” he added.Sino-Australia relations have been in an intense downward spiral. Trade has been the most serious focus lately, with China taking a range of informal actions on a series of Australian products, including coal, timber, cotton, beef and wine.Zhao has become known for heated confrontations on Twitter with China’s critics. He earlier insinuated the US military may be responsible for the deadly coronavirus outbreak in the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the first cases were reported.This article China strikes back at Australian fury over war crime tweet first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2020.
Superstar Cher welcomed "the world's loneliest elephant" to Cambodia Monday to begin a new life at a specialised sanctuary after the creature was rescued from grim conditions in a Pakistani zoo.
The series is dedicated to inspirational men and women in Singapore leading healthy and active lifestyles. This week: presenter Jade Seah.
Iran said that Israel and an exiled opposition group used new and "complex" methods to assassinate its leading nuclear scientist, as it buried him Monday in a funeral befitting a top "martyr".
The United States on Monday imposed sanctions on a major Chinese electronics and engineering company for assisting Venezuela in curbing dissent on the internet.