Beijing has now said that Australia was trying to "blame China for the worsening of bilateral ties". Relations between the two nations have plummeted to a new low in recent days. The tweet with the fake image was posted in response to a damning report last month about alleged Australian war crimes.
The Australian Defence Force said it had found "credible information" that 25 Australian soldiers were involved in the murders of 39 Afghan civilians and prisoners between 2009 and 2013. On Monday, China joined in the widespread condemnation of the findings - now under police investigation - but the graphic doctored image shared by foreign ministry spokesman Lijian Zhao has triggered furious reactions in Canberra and beyond.