Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian (Liu Zheng/AP)

Why is China attacking Australia with a faked image of an Australian soldier threatening to cut the throat of a child in Afghanistan?

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has called for an apology, saying Beijing should be “utterly ashamed”, after a Chinese Foreign Ministry official, Zhao Lijian, published the photograph on Twitter.

But the Foreign Ministry has doubled down on its attack using the Brereton Report, which has found after a four-year inquiry that Australian forces killed up to 39 civilians in Afghanistan.

I explain the Chinese motives in an interview with ABC’s The World:

1. Australia, back off from our affairs and 2. With a new Biden Administration, don’t think about siding with Washington against us.