China’s heavily-regulated state-run media is well-known for being saturated with loaded language and importing bias into “objective” news stories at the best of times, so when it gets a chance to pillory the old enemy (Japan), the scornful propaganda which ensues can be quite entertaining. Xinhua’s latest lambasting, cued by the recently revised US-Japan defense guidelines, provides some withering prose for your amusement.
The editorial is a response to the April revision of the US-Japan defense guidelines—which validates a new interpretation of Japan’s pacifist constitution and sanctions broader Japanese participation in peacekeeping missions outside its immediate region.
Japan is immediately vilified for its militant history, described as a “nation notorious for sneaky attacks”. The author also felt obliged to remind the reader of its veneration of war criminals, maligning Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s “ritual offering” at the controversial Yasukuni shrine. The editorial proceeds to deride Abe for his failure to apologise to China for World War II, accusing him of hiding behind “weasel words”.
An earlier editorial also expressed contempt at the US for “emboldening a warmonger” with some comical assertions:
The shrewd calculator had brought its eggs to a bad market this time, and will ultimately pay the piper for its blind trust toward a recidivous trouble-maker.
Underlined by the paranoid suspicion of a grand American scheme to outflank China, the author accuses Washington of signing a “Faustian pact with Tokyo”, echoing the sentiments of his totally-impartial colleague:
For regional good, Japan should stop issuing one wrong signal after another. The U.S.-Japan bilateral alliance, forged during the Cold War, should not be strengthened; it should be dumped.
The tendency of state-run media to overtly and unashamedly indoctrinate readers (particularly when it comes to Japan) inherently lends itself to ridicule and we bemoan the day that Chinese press stops force-feeding a political agenda and actually allows the reader latitude to form their own opinions.
By Liam Bourke