A Chinese graphic artist claimed to have been behind the fake image of an Australian soldier holding a knife to the throat of an Afghan child is taunting the Australian Prime Minister, stating that he would make another piece in response to being "scolded".
Fu Yu, also is known as Qilin, reportedly created the manipulated image to criticize Australia over the damning Brereton war crimes inquiry, whose military recently released a shocking report describing war crimes by elite troops, reports ABC News AU.
The Brereton investigation looked into alleged war crimes committed by Australian SAS forces and found there was "credible information" to suggest they had murdered at least 39 Afghan civilians and prisoners, including children.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian tweeted the doctored image on Monday, prompting Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison to call it “truly repugnant” and demand it be removed and Beijing issue an apology.
Fu reacted to Morrison in a video shared by Chinese media on microblog site Weibo, the Australian news outlet reported.
Fu described himself as a "wolf-warrior artist", echoing Beijing's aggressive diplomacy in recent years.
“I get scolded by this Australian person called Morrison, and he demands my apology,” said Fu, who identified himself as the owner of Beijing Wuhe Culture and Creativity Company.
“I feel sympathetic for him and fully understand Morrison’s feelings right now,” he added in what was reported to have been a sarcastic response, adding, "But I would advise Morrison to face reality, and put his attention and effort on his domestic affairs."
Fu’s Monday posts garnered over 1 million views by over 700,000 followers on Weibo.
"I created this CG illustration based on my anger and shuddering. The artwork was simply created out of a sense of humanitarianism," Fu reportedly wrote for the Chinese state-owned media outlet Global Times.
"What I have produced looks like an absurd scene, but it is something that really happened somewhere in this world," he suggested, adding, "I hope that more people will see this painting and pay attention to this real tragedy."
Fu said he used an Australian flag to cover some of the depictions of bodies of Afghanistan civilians behind the soldier, which contrasted with a small sheep in the boy's arms.
"What I have produced looks like an absurd scene, but it is something that really happened somewhere in this world," Fu was reported to have stated.
ABC AU reports that Fu urged the Australian prime minister to "make sure his government's military force becomes more disciplined to avoid any similar international tragedy", describing his own work as an "effort to protect mankind".
"He should put less effort on pressuring and condemning a fact-based artwork and an artist who is ordinary and from a foreign country," Fu reportedly stated.
"If I have energy tonight, I can make another artwork as my response."