Photographer Accuses China of Using His Photos from Syria to Smear U.S. Role in Afghanistan

Photographer Accuses China of Using His Photos from Syria to Smear U.S. Role in Afghanistan

Syrian photographer Ali Haj Suleiman on Thursday blew the whistle on China’s Foreign Ministry for fraudulently presenting photos he took in Idlib as if they were snapshots of Afghanistan devastated by the U.S. invasion. 

Suleiman caught Chinese Foreign Ministry propagandist Zhao Lijian passing off photos he took for a respected essay on the Syrian civil war as “proof” that American troops abused Afghan children.

“After 20 years’ war, this is what the U.S. has brought to the children in Afghanistan,” Zhao intoned, while posting photos of Syrian children brutalized by their own government and warring factions in the northwestern city of Idlib.

A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman has published @zlj517,photos taken by me in Idlib and claims that 'this is what the United States brought to the children in Afghanistan', but in fact, this is what the Syrian regime and Russian forces brought to the children in Idlib.

— Ali Haj Suleiman (@AliHajSuleiman) January 27, 2022

Zhao is the same Foreign Ministry operative who pushed China’s insane conspiracy theory that the Wuhan coronavirus was created in a Maryland bioweapons lab, and posted a vicious slander of Australian troops allegedly knifing a baby to death:

Shocked by murder of Afghan civilians & prisoners by Australian soldiers. We strongly condemn such acts, &call for holding them accountable.

— Lijian Zhao 赵立坚 (@zlj517) November 30, 2020

China refused Australia’s demand for an apology, and Twitter refused to censor Zhao’s tweet even though it clearly violated the platform’s terms of service.

Ordinary Chinese citizens are forbidden to use Twitter – they are herded instead into a platform called Weibo that is heavily monitored and censored by the Chinese Communist Party. Chinese officials such as  Zhao, however, are given Twitter accounts to push propaganda into the Western media stream.

The Chinese government is about to host the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing despite perpetrating monstrous human rights abuses, including acts of genocide and forced labor against the Uyghur Muslims of Xinjiang province. The Chinese government will not permit any independent investigation of its Uyghur labor camps.

John Hayward