China's embassy in Australia said former Prime Minister Tony Abbott was a "pitiful" politician after he denounced Chinese pressure against Taiwan during a visit to the island.
Abbott visited Taiwan, which is claimed by China, in a personal capacity this week, meeting President Tsai Ing-wen and saying at a security forum that China may lash out with its economy slowing and finances "creaking".
The Chinese embassy in Canberra responded with disdain.
"Tony Abbott is a failed and pitiful politician. His recent despicable and insane performance in Taiwan fully exposed his hideous anti-China features. This will only further discredit him," it said in a brief statement on its website.
Abbott's visit came after China carried out four days of mass air force incursions into Taiwan's air defence identification zone beginning on October 1.
Australia, like most countries, has no official diplomatic ties with Taiwan, but has joined its ally the United States in expressing concern at Chinese pressure, especially military.
Taiwan says it is an independent country and will defend itself if China attacks.
Australian Associated Press