Photo taken on Nov. 2, 2020 shows the Sydney Opera House in Sydney, Australia. (Xinhua/Bai Xuefei)
- In the name of fighting terrorism and promoting so-called freedom and human rights, Australia, joining some other Western countries, has waged wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Their reckless invasions have kicked millions of people in those countries deep into the abyss of chaos and bloodshed as well as devastation and death.
- For Australia, making the right choice starts with admitting its own crimes.
BEIJING, Dec. 1 (Xinhua) -- It seems that in the logic of Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, a legitimate response to a heinous war crime is not a sincere apology or heartfelt confession but to shift the topic and find fault with others.
Well, Morrison and his government should simply ask the Afghan people and see if their approach is even remotely acceptable.
The Australian government should feel ashamed. Its demand for an apology from the Chinese side is as ironic as it is absurd.
What a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman has done was no more than standing up against hellish human rights crimes that deserve unanimous condemnation from the international community, and speaking out for the truth and justice.
An investigation report recently released by the Australian Defense Forces showed that 25 Australian special forces soldiers killed 39 Afghans including children in 23 incidents, and none of those killings occurred in "the heat of a battle."
The relatives of victims killed by Australian troops during their mission pray at a tomb in Tirinkot, capital of Uruzgan, Afghanistan, Nov. 22, 2020. (Xinhua/Sharafat)
According to the report, some junior soldiers were even forced to shoot prisoners of war to gain the experience of "first killing." Australian media described the scathing scandal as "the most disgraceful episode in Australia's military history."
Many dignitaries including Australian Governor-General David Hurley and former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd have also come forward and strongly condemned those crimes.
Instead of trying to divert public attention by blaming those who spoke out for justice and human rights, the Australian government should genuinely apologize to the Afghan people and bring to justice the soldiers who committed the horrible crimes in Afghanistan.
The Australian government should feel guilty. In the name of fighting terrorism and promoting so-called freedom and human rights, Australia, joining some other Western countries, has waged wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Their reckless invasions have kicked millions of people in those countries deep into the abyss of chaos and bloodshed as well as devastation and death.
A research issued last year by the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University showed that the long-running war in Afghanistan claimed the lives of more than 40,000 civilians and produced approximately 11 million refugees.
Afghans, bearing the banners inscribed with the slogans "We hate war", "We want peace" and "We want national reconciliation," take part in a demonstration calling for peace in Nad Ali district of Helmand province, Afghanistan, Feb. 18, 2019. (Xinhua/Abdul Aziz Safdari)
For the record, this is not the first time that such a scandal has been brought to light. Stomach-churning incidents of killing civilians or abusing prisoners in places like the notorious Guantanamo Bay have severely violated international law and the most basic human rights, and stoked public indignation worldwide.
The Australian government should be penitent. Besides an official apology to the Afghan people, the Australian government should make a solemn promise to the international community that such atrocities will never happen again, as Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying urged at a regular press briefing on Monday.
Canberra should also revisit its double standard practice on human rights protection, and abandon its ideological prejudice and arrogance towards countries like China.
For a period of time, the Australian government has done a slew of provocative things to interfere with China's internal affairs concerning China's core interests. As a result, bilateral ties have been seriously damaged.
An injured child receives medical treatment at a local hospital in Taluqan, capital of Takhar province, Afghanistan, Oct. 22, 2020. (Str/Xinhua)
The international community should also do some serious soul-searching over the tragedy in Afghanistan. In the face of some hegemonic power's impulse to pursue pure self-interests, international justice can be pitifully fragile while human conscience can be so easily abandoned.
To safeguard fairness, justice and truth globally, and to promote the overall fundamental interests of ordinary people worldwide, countries around the world should be brave enough to stand on the right side of both history and humanity. For Australia, making the right choice starts with admitting its own crimes. ■