When Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was shot down in the western city of Napa in Japan, it wasn’t for political reasons, or by a foreign national. Rather it was a fellow Japanese citizen who according to early reports had only recently planned the attack. The shooting is suspected to be a result of his mother’s bankruptcy for donating to religious organizations tied to Abe.
Despite the shooter having no publicly known Chinese affiliation, the citizens of China quickly took to social media to proclaim their pride in the shooting. A Twitter account owned by a Chinese-Australian artist and critic of the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) posted some screenshots of messages left on Twitter alternate Weibo and the ever-popular WeChat message boards for the world to see.
In a tweet, the page summed up the feelings of Chinese citizens. “Chinese nationalists on Weibo have begun to celebrate that Japan’s ex-PM Abe is shot during campaign today. they call the attacker “hero” and send death wish to Abe. From WeChat it says ‘i hope it is the current Japanese PM (got shot) … and Korean one too.”
Given the anti-communist messages, Abe was well known for, his policies put him at direct odds with China. Along with this message came Abe’s help in the formation of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue or “Quad” alongside the U.S., India, and Australia. Their primary focus for being formed was to help counter the rhetoric from the Chinese in the Indo-Pacific region and to try and help prevent communism from growing more popular in the region.
Abe also saw the weakness in a defensive-only military and tried restoring it to full strength, angering the Chinese government in the process.
With the resentment and hurt the Chinese people feel towards Abe, it’s not surprising to hear of incredibly asinine responses to his being shot down. Bloomberg also covered the celebrations of many Chinese nationalists. One of the Webio posts they shared claimed it would be fitting if Abe lost his life as punishment for Japan’s invasion of China in 1937. This got 210,000 likes from others. Never mind the fact that he wasn’t born until 1954.
Another Twitter account translates Chinese media for the globe to read. A screenshot of the China Central Television (CCTV) broadcast, explained how businesses within China were reacting. The several additional screenshots covered the hour within the news of his being shot and showing no signs of life had broken. In just over an hour two water parks, a zoo, a flower farm, and restaurants all announced steep discounts for the day.
Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Lijian Zhao held a press conference on Friday after Abe was shot. There he said “We are following the updates and hope that former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will be out of danger and recover soon. We would like to extend sympathies to his family.”
Someone in attendance asked him for his opinion concerning the reactions from Chinese citizens, many of whom blamed Abe for “mishandling Chinese relations”. Zhao responded by saying “I am not going to comment on the remarks posted online. I’ve just stated the position of the Chinese government. This unexpected incident should not be linked to China-Japan relations.”
As more and more responses to the shooting poured in from across the globe, Japanese officials raided the shooter’s apartment. There they found numerous other homemade weapons and improvised explosive devices. The weapon used in the shooting was a homemade nine-barreled shotgun. According to Japanese officials, all the weapons were rudimentary and could have easily been made by a single person in a half-day each.