A computer-generated video, depicting Chinese forces conquering a contested island in the South China Sea and obliterating Tokyo with a nuclear missile, went viral when it was posted online on Sept. 18. It met with a spate of comments, ranging from excitement to disdain to sarcasm.
The bulk of the video, set to a bombastic military song, details a showdown between the armed forces of communist China, Japan, and Taiwan centered around the Diaoyu Islands, known as the Senkakus Islands in Japanese. The land mass is located in the South China Sea, and China and Japan dispute ownership.
In the video, after the Chinese military’s armaments are brought out and introduced one by one, achieving air and naval superiority, the People’s Liberation Army executes an amphibious landing, wiping out a Japanese military base in the process.
The victory doesn’t end there, though. The music still playing, a Chinese cruise missile lifts off and makes its way to Japan, delivering a nuclear warhead that lands square on Tokyo’s Yasukuni Shrine, where all Japanese war dead, including those who committed atrocities in China and elsewhere, are consecrated. The video concludes with scenes of the rest of the metropolis disappearing in an atomic fireball.
The four-minute piece was created by a netizen to commemorate the 82nd anniversary of the 1931 Mukden Incident, according to mainland Chinese media. The Mukden Incident is infamously considered to have been the first Japanese invasion of China and a prelude to World War II in Asia. Yasukuni Shrine, target of the hypothetical nuclear attack, is regularly attacked in the nationalist Chinese press. The identity of the video’s creator is unknown.
Netizens gave a variety of feedback on the video’s page. While some were enthusiastic about the gusto and national strength showcased in the video, others were appalled by the blatantly warlike display.
A poster called Mercury Lamp wrote: “… They even fight a nuclear war. Why don’t they edit in the end of the world, with skulls littering the fiery landscape?”
Superhero, another user, commented: “The computer graphics are atrocious. Compared with an earlier computer-generated look at speculative warfare produced by the Japanese, this is really shameful. Also, the video is so stupid. What era is it we live in? Who would nuke a city? Isn’t it just the same as [World War II Japanese] militarism?”
“Was this video made with North Korean assistance? The production concept and technical ability are on their level,” a poster called Fage wrote.
Another commented, “It’s self-anaesthesia, just like Ah-Q! Self-gratification does nothing, only real work can make our country prosperous!” Ah Q is a well-known character from a Chinese novel, known for self-deceptive foolishness.
Poster Youran says, “I see no difference between this and the North Korean video in which they bomb the American imperialists. Do we want to end up like the Koreans, feigning prowess and wallowing in self-deception?”
With research and translation by Lu Chen.