Chinese state media has blasted Australia and accused it of spreading 'fake information' about COVID-19 and denied the virus originated in Wuhan's wet markets.
The Chinese Communist Party-run Xinhua News Agency published a list of 11 'fabricated lies' it claims Australian media and politicians have disseminated about the authoritarian state.
Human rights watchers say Beijing's propaganda machine has been desperately trying to 'rewrite history' after initially trying to cover up the deadly outbreak.
A meat vendor wearing a face mask waits for a customer at a market in Wuhan, on April 2, 2020
Chinese state media has blasted Australia for spreading 'fake information' about COVID-19 and denied the coronavirus outbreak began in Wuhan's wet market. Pictured: Residents in Beijing wear facemasks in the bustling Chinese capital
'Some Australian politicians and media outlets have been fabricating lies on COVID-19 of one kind or another,' the Xinhua article claims.
'They have played a trick of a thief crying "stop thief" to blame China for spreading fake information.
'China is a victim of disinformation, not a disseminator.'
Diplomatic relations between Australia and China have deteriorated significantly during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison angered Beijing back in April when he called for an independent international inquiry into the origins of COVID-19.
China is accused of silencing doctors and media who tried to raise the alarm when the first wave of cases presented to Wuhan hospitals in November 2019.
Li Wenliang, a doctor who tried to warn of 'a new SARS' virus in early December, was arrested by Chinese authorities and forced to sign a confession admitting to 'spreading false rumours'.
He later died of coronavirus in February. But due to public anger inside China, an investigation officially exonerated the 33-year-old.
Li Wenliang is pictured at the Central Hospital of Wuhan in China's Hubei Province hooked up to a respirator suffering from COVID-19
Chinese residents gather to pay their respects to Li Wenliang who is now seen a hero in China after public anger on social media led to his exoneration
'As the crisis of COVID-19 has shifted from being a China problem to a global one, Chinese authorities have switched gears. From the early days of a defensive cover-up and censorship, they have surged into an all-out propaganda offensive,' China expert Natasha Kassam wrote in a paper for the Lowy Institute.
'The message lauds the strength and resolve of China's party-state and deflects scrutiny of the systemic failures and cruel incompetence of the Chinese Communist Party's initial response to COVID-19.
'The propaganda machine in China is known for its ability to rewrite history within the country, through a combination of censorship and repression, and the ensuing days and weeks have seen this success replicated overseas.'
The notion of a transparent investigation into the response of Chinese officials in the early stages of the outbreak was dismissed by the communist party and resulted in a backlash against Australia.
Diplomatic relations between Australia and China have deteriorated significantly during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Pictured: Xi Jinping (left) and Scott Morrison (right)
Chinese state media claims these 11 'fabricated lies' by Australia need a 'reality check'
1. COVID-19 virus originated in China
2. COVID-19 may arise from the “wet markets” in China’s central city of Wuhan
3. China did not suspend outbound international flights from Wuhan when the city was put under lockdown, thus causing the spread of the virus to the world
4. Australian media claimed to have secret information that COVID-19 originated from the Wuhan Institute of Virology
5. The draft resolution of the World Health Assembly (WHA) is the result of Australia's promotion
6. Chinese companies have snapped up medical protection materials in Australia
7. The Chinese eat bats
8. China has been "infiltrating" Australia to exert its influence
9. Wang Liqiang who absconded to Australia was not a 'Chinese spy'
10. One million Uygurs are in Chinese custody
11. China launched cyber-attacks against Australia
Shortly after, Chinese Ambassador Cheng Jingye warned that Chinese consumers might boycott Australian goods like beef and wine if Mr Morrison continued his 'dangerous' rhetoric.
China retaliated in May by introducing an 80.5 percent tariff on Australian barley imports which total about $1.5billion per year.
A further blow came that month when China blacklisted three of Australia's largest beef producers.
Then China's Education Bureau cautioned students not to travel to Australia due to 'racist incidents'.
The bitter diplomatic row reached new heights last month when Mr Morrison announced Australia was under cyber attack from a malicious 'state-actor' targeting banks, transport networks, electricity grids and various other government agencies.
Security experts have pointed the finger squarely at Beijing, with former officials claiming the cyber invasion is payback for Australia's decision to ban Huawei from the national 5G network in 2018.
Australia recently announced it would set aside $270billion for defence spending over the next ten years citing 'strategic competition' in the Asia Pacific as the main reason for the military cash splash.
More than half of $270billion will be spent on improving Australia's air and maritime forces, including buying new AGM-158C Long Range Anti-Ship Missiles from the US (pictured)
Chinese troops marching during a military parade in Tiananmen Square in Beijing to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China
Australian troops Private Samantha Dickins and Private Maddison Hamilton are pictured
Just weeks ago China's new national security laws brought in to crack down on pro-democracy advocates in Hong Kong led to the Australian government opening the door for those who want to flee the besieged former British colony.
China responded by slamming Australia for 'interfering' in the country's internal affairs.
Of the 11 allegations levelled against China, seven are related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The article also denies China has been 'infiltrating' Australia to exert its influence.
It claims Wang Liqiang who absconded to Australia was not a Chinese spy.
It refutes accusations that there are one million Uygur muslims detained in Xinjiang Province, despite a mountain of evidence presented to the United Nations by human rights group Amnesty International.
China also denies it was responsible for the unprecedented cyber attack carried out against Australia.