World WeChat Deletes Australian PM’s Appeal to Chinese Community

13:20  03 december  2020
13:20  03 december  2020 Source:   bloomberg.com

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The Chinese -owned messaging app WeChat has taken down a post by Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison in which he criticized a Beijing diplomat for attacking Australian soldiers. SBS News reported that the PM ’ s message had been read by 57,000 WeChat users by Wednesday.

The material published on the PM ’ s official account was deleted overnight, his office confirmed. A message from WeChat now states that the content “The post of a false image of an Australian soldier does not diminish our respect for and appreciation of our Chinese Australian community or

(Bloomberg) --

Josh Frydenberg wearing a suit and tie: Josh Frydenberg on Dec. 2. © Bloomberg Josh Frydenberg on Dec. 2.

Chinese social media platform WeChat has deleted a post by Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, accusing him of misleading the public, as the diplomatic spat between the two nations shows no sign of easing.

In a direct appeal to the Chinese community, Morrison promoted Australia as a “free, democratic, liberal country” and explained that an official probe was underway into alleged atrocities by Australian soldiers in Afghanistan. That post was removed for the use of “misleading words” to “distort historical events and deceive the public,” according to a message displayed in its place.

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China ' s WeChat social media platform blocked a message by Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison amid a dispute between Canberra and Beijing over the doctored tweeted Morrison took to WeChat on Tuesday to criticise the “false image”, while offering praise to Australia ’ s Chinese community .

On Tuesday, in a direct appeal to the Chinese people, Morrison took to WeChat to criticize the “false image”, while offering praise to Australia ’s Chinese community , reports Reuters. Morrison’s office reportedly confirmed that the material published on the PM ’ s official account was deleted overnight.

Both China and Australia have taken to social media in recent days as tensions between the two nations continue to simmer. Morrison angrily demanded a public apology earlier this week after a diplomat in Beijing shared a fake image purporting to show an Australian soldier holding a knife to the throat of an Afghan child on Twitter, a social network banned in China.

WeChat and its operator Tencent Holdings Ltd. work with the Beijing government to censor sensitive content, like all China-based media. The microblogging site Weibo Corp. has a history of blocking or removing posts from foreign embassies on topics ranging from human rights to stock market manipulation, according to a 2018 report by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.

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'Our Chinese Australian community will continue to play an important role in ensuring we remain a successful, multicultural nation.' Canberra-Beijing relations hit a new low on Monday when China ' s foreign ministry spokesman sparked fury by tweeting a mocked-up image of a digger threatening to kill

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Tencent didn’t respond to a request for comment Thursday. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying declined to comment, telling a regular news briefing in Beijing that the post’s removal was an issue “between WeChat and Prime Minister Morrison.”

Australia’s treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, said WeChat’s action was “unnecessary.” While stressing the importance of the trading relationship with China, he said Australia wouldn’t give ground on a list of Chinese grievances against the government. They range from Australia meddling in domestic affairs in Hong Kong to calling for a probe into the coronavirus outbreak.

Australia Demands China Apology for ‘Repugnant’ Afghan Tweet

Australia is “not going to give way on those,” Frydenberg said. “They go to the heart of who we are. Our national identity, a free press, a democratically elected parliament and obviously upholding our national interest when it comes to things like foreign investment.”

Chinese official sparks outrage with doctored image depicting Australian soldier cutting Afghan child’s throat

  Chinese official sparks outrage with doctored image depicting Australian soldier cutting Afghan child’s throat Australia’s leader demanded an apology from Beijing, as relations between the countries plumb new depths. Zhao Lijian, the most prominent of Beijing’s outspoken “wolf warrior” diplomats, was referring in the tweet to an Australian inquiry into alleged war crimes by its soldiers in Afghanistan. As China-Australia relations have plummeted this year, Zhao has sharply criticized Australia in both its economic dealings and its conduct in Afghanistan. Russia, too, has cited Afghanistan as an example of the West’s failings and hypocrisy on the global stage.

For the global Chinese community , WeChat is more than a chat app: it is often the primary means of staying in touch with friends and family back home. So the decision last week by US President Donald Trump to order American firms to stop doing business with WeChat has sent shockwaves rippling out.

As an election looms, Australian politicians are spending more time courting voters on the Chinese social media site Weibo and the popular "super app" WeChat . Key points: Politicians are eyeing marginal seats with high Chinese - Australian populations.

Morrison created his WeChat public account in February 2019, becoming one of the few world leaders who have a presence on China’s largest social network with 1 billion users. He has since posted regularly in Chinese to communicate his government’s policies. During last year’s federal election in Australia, leaders of the main political parties took to the platform to conduct question-and-answer sessions with Chinese-Australian voters.

China’s Wolf Warrior Diplomats Slam Australia, Win Fans at Home

Ties between the major trading partners have been strained since 2018 when Canberra barred Huawei Technologies Co. from building its 5G network and introduced anti-foreign interference laws aimed at halting Beijing’s “meddling” in domestic affairs. Relations have been in a deep freeze since April, when Morrison’s government called for independent investigators to enter Wuhan to probe the origins of the coronavirus.

A string of commodities have since been targeted with tariffs or bans in what Canberra says amounts to “economic coercion.”

(Updates with Chinese response in fifth paragraph.)

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US military education remains "the gold standard," US officials say, but Chinese military influence is growing with the US's southern neighbors.China doesn't have a military presence in the region, and its growing influence is focused on economics and trade, but "there is the political aspect of Chinese influence, and they're being very aggressive in exploiting but also facilitating the corruption," John Kreul, acting deputy secretary of defense for the Western Hemisphere, said at a Johns Hopkins University virtual event in November.

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