Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe’s December visit to the Yasukuni Shrine—a Shinto shrine in Tokyo honoring Japan’s war casualties, including some convicted of war crimes against China—nettled many in China. This visit, occurring amid heightened tensions over the disputed Diaoyu/Senkaku islands, inspired a Chinese diplomat to compare Japanese militarism to Harry Potter nemesis Voldemort. As bilateral, fantasy-inspired name calling ensued, the Weibo account tied to the Global Times’ website posted another criticism of Abe’s shrine visit on January 7:
环球网: Abe pays homage at the Yasukuni Shrine, and speaks of showing respect for departed spirits. In today’s world, which country’s leaders venerate the dead with no regard to good and evil like Japan does? This is a unique form of necrophilia, and not an act of benevolence. It shows devotion to the perpetrators of war crimes. They never offered sacrifice to the countless innocent civilians who were cruelly slaughtered during WWII. Is there any future for Japan if it keeps up this dream of hugging the mummies of war criminals?
Netizens were quick to note inaccuracy and hypocrisy in the Global Times’ evocative “mummy hugging” claim:
鲁振旺: Mummies+necrophilia+war criminals+cruelly slaughtered… Oh, look at those words…
黄光德说: Japan only enshrined memorial tablets. Only autocratic countries worship mummies—for example Lenin, Ho Chi Minh, Kim I, Kim II… and so on.
晋商-孙志强: [Old Sun’s Word] The term “necrophilia” is really a slap in the face, but perhaps it’s not the Japanese who got hurt. Nowadays, only a few places have mummies. Whom is the Chief Editor Hu Xijin trying to attack here?
While many similar comments were made, one Weibo user re-posted the Global Times’ message along with a picture of China’s own venerated mummy:
Amid an ongoing crackdown on Internet rumors, another user wondered if the Global Times might face legal trouble for their weibo:
陆伟民律师: Doesn’t Global Times have correspondents in Tokyo? Could you first investigate before speaking out? Since when does the Yasukuni Shrine have mummies in it? Shouldn’t official media be held legally responsible for starting rumors? The attached photo was taken by me at the Yasukuni Shrine in 2012. There were only memorial tablets, no mummies.
Translation by Mengyu Dong.