Zhao Lijian Twitter scandal • Perth LIVE with Oliver Peterson

2 December 2020 3:27 pm

Unless you’ve been on a serious tech cleanse for the last week, you’ve probably seen the Photoshopped image tweeted by Zhao Lijian.

Coming from a Chinese Government account, the tweet has caused quite the international stir online. I joined Perth LIVE with Oliver Peterson to have a chat about the Tweet, censorship, and the spread of misinformation.

The image in question shows a Photoshopped image of an Australian soldier smiling while holding a bloodied knife to the throat of an Afghan child. It comes on the back of allegations of war crimes against Australian soldiers accused of killing Afghan civilians.

To say that Australia and China already have a tense relationship would be the understatement of the century, but this Tweet, especially coming from an official figure within the Chinese Foreign Ministry, seems to have that relationship at breaking point.

The infamous Tweet was posted on 30 November, and has amassed over 19,000 comments, 16,000 retweets, and 58,000 likes. On the back of the US election, where many Tweets were flagged as misleading, many people have been left wondering why this clearly-fake image hasn’t been flagged or removed.

Not only has the Tweet not been flagged or removed, but it’s also currently pinned to the top of Zhao Lijian’s feed.

While many may see it as a no-brainer for this Tweet to be removed, navigating and censoring information at this high of a level is an absolute mine field for Twitter. However, it’s important to remember that individuals do not get the same level of leniency online as government accounts or large corporations.

This Tweet from the Chinese Government has opened up a massive can of worms online, surrounding the ideas of censorship and freedom of thought.

If you missed my chat with Oliver Peterson, you can listen to our full conversation below.

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