Chinese Guy Who Faked Image of Australian Soldier Killing Child Says He's Doing More

In response to international outrage, the graphic designer quipped, “If I’m not too tired tonight, maybe I’ll make another drawing as an answer.”
Gavin Butler
Melbourne, AU
china, australia,war crimes
Photo: Shang Hongtao/VCG via Getty Images

Earlier this week, a Chinese government spokesman tweeted a fabricated image in which an Australian soldier was depicted murdering an Afghan child.

The picture, created by Chinese computer graphic artist Fu Yu, was posted by the official Zhao Lijian on Monday in response to the findings of the Brereton report: a damning inquiry that found evidence of unlawful killings and war crimes committed by members of the Australian special forces in Afghanistan.


In the days since, governments around the world have condemned the controversial tweet.

The French government labelled it an insult to every country whose armed forces had been engaged in Afghanistan; New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern said her government had raised concerns with China over the “unfactual” image; and Australian prime minister Scott Morrison demanded that China apologise for the post, which he called “truly repugnant” and “deeply offensive”.

Now the political computer graphic artist behind the image, Fu Yu—known online as Qilin—has hit back at Morrison and indicated that there may be more to come.

"I get scolded by this Australian person called Morrison, and he demands my apology," Fu said in a piece-to-camera video posted by Chinese media on Weibo. "I feel sympathetic for him and fully understand Morrison's feelings right now. But I would advise Morrison to face reality, and put his attention and effort on his domestic affairs—like making sure that his military becomes more disciplined so that these kinds of tragedies don’t ever happen again. That would be a true contribution to mankind.”

The Brereton report found “compelling evidence” that Australian special forces committed at least 39 unlawful killings during the war in Afghanistan, and Fu’s picture seems to be a reference to allegations that soldiers cut the throats of two 14-year-old Afghan boys.


Fu said he had a sense of "fury and trembling" after reading about the claims mentioned in the report, and told state-owned Chinese newspaper Global Times that he created the computer illustration “out of a sense of humanitarianism”.

"What I have produced looks like an absurd scene, but it is something that really happened somewhere in this world," he said. "I hope that more people will see this painting and pay attention to this real tragedy."

In his video responding to Morrison’s criticisms of the image, Fu—who has previously described himself as a “wolf-warrior artist” in reference to China’s aggressive style of diplomacy—further noted that “If I’m not too tired tonight, maybe I’ll make another drawing as an answer.”

His posts on Monday received over 1 million views from a total of more than 700,000 Weibo followers. 

Morrison, meanwhile, has urged Australian politicians not to share or engage with Zhao’s tweet, insisting that it “doesn’t need any further amplification.”

“Our work is focusing on establishing dialogue that allows us to steadily work through issues as governments,” he said on Tuesday.

Twitter has rejected Morrison’s calls for the tweet to be taken down, stating that “foreign policy sabre-rattling” on economic or military issues are generally not in violation of the social media platform’s rules, The Australian reports. Instead, the tweet—which at the time of writing remains pinned to the top of Zhao’s Twitter timeline—will be marked as “sensitive media” for any users whose settings alert them to such things.

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