Bullet that killed Abe was “deep enough to reach his heart,” medical officials say

China’s Foreign Ministry said it was “shocked” by the shooting of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

“We are following the developments, and we hope former Prime Minister Abe will be out of danger and recover soon. We certainly would like to send our regards to his family,” ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian told a news conference on Friday afternoon.

Zhao declined to comment on Chinese social media reactions to the shooting, saying: “I have just fully expressed the Chinese government’s position that this unexpected incident should not be associated with Sino-Japanese relations.”

Some context: Chinese social media was flooded with gleeful comments following the shooting, with ultra-nationalist users gloating over the attack.

Relations between China and Japan deteriorated during Abe’s time in office, worsened by a slow-burning dispute over sovereignty of disputed Japanese-administered islands known as the Senkaku Islands in Japan and the Diaoyus in China.

Many Chinese users also criticized Abe for visiting the controversial Yasukuni Shrine, regarded in China as a symbol of Japan’s imperial military past.

The online schadenfreude was so unseemly that even some of the country’s most prominent nationalist influencers felt compelled to speak out.

Hu Xijin, former editor-in-chief of the state-run nationalist tabloid the Global Times, expressed sympathy for Abe.

“I think at this moment we need to put aside our political disputes with him,” he wrote on China’s Twitter-like Weibo.
“Some people may say that I am ‘pretending to be compassionate,’ but as a veteran Chinese journalist, this is my firm public attitude in the field of public opinion. And I hope that more people will understand and join me in holding this attitude.”

Jin Canrong, an international relations scholar known for his hawkish views, also weighed in. “I advise everyone to have some respect for life, to be patriotic and speak up in a rational way,” he wrote on Weibo.

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