Zhao and other Chinese officials and diplomats have made many outrageous attacks on Australia and the US in recent years. Zhao himself was probably best known before this week’s tweet for his official promotion of a conspiracy theory that the US military was responsible for bringing the coronavirus to China.
Hu Xijin, the editor in chief of the Global Times, an official newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party, is another vocal critic of Australia. Four years ago, the newspaper published a scathing editorial directed at Australia after Canberra said China must abide by an international tribunal ruling on the South China Sea. It called Australia a “paper cat” with an “inglorious” history, and said, “If Australia steps into the South China Sea waters, it will be an ideal target for China to warn and strike.”