By Ai Jun Source: Global Times
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Photo: VCG
An artwork of Chinese cartoonist Wuheqilin has struck the nerve of Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who demanded an apology from China while calling the picture a “false image” and “disgusting slur.”
Some Australian elites and media went further, arguing China is waging a “propaganda war,” as if Australia has done nothing wrong.
Whether it was a slur, both Morrison and other angry Australians might better browse its “Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force Afghanistan Inquiry Report” first, published on the official website of their country’s department of defense. On page 120 of the report, the incident was written down in black and white: Members from the SASR, Special Air Service Regiment, “were driving along a road and saw two 14-year-old boys whom they decided might be Taliban sympathizers. They stopped, searched the boys and slit their throats.”
Wuheqilin’s artwork simply manifests his outrage after hearing such a brutal story. It conveys the anger anyone with a conscience would have when hearing armed soldiers kill innocent people – worst of all, defenseless children, at their whim. The sentiment has nothing to do with political calculation, not to mention a so-called propaganda scheme.
The picture reveals the wrath of Chinese people, as the news has brought back memories of innocent Chinese children living under the shadow of Western invaders’ atrocities. From the Opium Wars to World War II, China has seen enough killings on its soil. What’s wrong with an artist expressing his empathy through art?
The Chinese often refer to their modern history (1840-1949) as a century of humiliation. They can still feel the pain, grief, and despair of the time. But China has also, thanks to the period of hardship, achieved national unity, independence and development. The time when China lived with terror had long gone, and it has gotten strong, becoming the biggest nightmare of the powers which once invaded the middle kingdom.
Australia wants China, which has voiced for justice, to apologize. It must still live in the old days and have forgot who it is and what it has done.
In times of peace, common Chinese people tend to attach more attention to their surroundings, national development and changes in their lives. If it was not for Australia’s constant provocations against China in recent years, Chinese people, not to mention Chinese artists, may not have noticed the land Down Under.
It is exactly the attitude and actions of Western countries like Australia that have awakened China. Chinese people want to embrace the world with goodwill, but regrettably, they did not receive respect. Quite the contrary, a growing number of unreasonable accusations have happened to them. Those who have been studying and traveling abroad may likely face absurd charges, investigations and even time behind bars.
As renowned British scholar Martin Jacques put it on Twitter on Monday, Morrison was not really outraged by the picture. “What really offends him is that he doesn’t think the Chinese have a right to comment on the murderous behavior of Australian special forces in Afghanistan.”
Jacques has a point. Until today, Australia still believes China is inferior, not qualified to criticize the superior Aussies. Nothing can better portray the mentality when Australia showed much greater anger toward a Chinese cartoon than the crimes of Australian soldiers in Afghanistan.
Yet, few knew about Australian soldiers’ wrongdoings until Morrison propagandized it through a tantrum against a cartoonist. Now, everyone across the world knows it, and most of them are furious, all thanks to Morrison’s shameless quibble.