Lee Teng-hui’s recent visit to the controversial Yasukuni Shrine in Japan has raised much criticism from Beijing although Lee and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan have both emphasized his visit is only private with no political implications. From the International Herald Tribune:
A former president of Taiwan, Lee Teng-hui, visited a Tokyo war shrine Thursday to pray for his brother, a move that upset China, which views the shrine as a glorification of Japan’s militaristic past.
The name of Lee’s elder brother is written on a list of the dead at Yasukuni Shrine. It honors 2.5 million war dead, including Japanese World War II leaders executed for war crimes and tens of thousands of Koreans and Taiwanese drafted into the Japanese military during Japan’s colonial rule. [Full text]
The Chinese leadership has accused Lee of attempting to assert Taiwanese indepedence through his visit. Beijing’s anger is clearly reflected in the language of an article from the People’s Daily, a mouthpiece of the CCP. Below is an excerpt from Taiwan Separatist Lee Teng-hui Visits Tokyo’s Yasukuni War Shrine:
Analysts said the visit exposed Lee’s ugly face as a separatist favoring “Taiwan Independence.”
In 2001, Lee met with strong criticism when he jumped out to voice support for a Japanese leader to visit the notorious shrine and was deemed as a national scum who was brainwashed by the Japanese militarism.
See also an earlier post by CDT on this issue.