Are China Officials Calling for Atomic Bombing of Japan?

Communist Party officials in northwestern China appear to be advocating a “continuous” atomic bombing of Japan after their social media account shared a controversial viral video over the weekend.

Still live on the YouTube-like platform Xigua, under an account run by the Baoji Municipal Committee of the Communist Party of China, the video calls for Beijing to launch nuclear strikes on Japan if Tokyo intervenes in a Chinese invasion of democratic Taiwan.

The five-minute clip was created by verified military commentary channel “Liujun Taolue.” The original was posted on Sunday and later deleted after amassing more than 2 million views—but not before it was reposted by the official party account in Baoji, Shaanxi province.

The narrator in the video proposes a “Japan Exception Theory” that would see Tokyo exempt from China’s “no first use” (NFU) nuclear policy. The footage is filled with belligerent and nationalistic rhetoric, as well as threats of nuclear war against one of China’s nearest neighbors.

The commentator points to recent remarks by high-ranking Japanese officials as the motivation behind his proposal. Japan’s Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi and his deputy, Yasuhide Nakayama, have spoken in support of Taiwan’s security in the face of an increasingly assertive China.

Taro Aso, Japan’s deputy prime minister, also made headlines last week when he suggested a Chinese attack on Taiwan would threaten Japan’s survival, necessitating a collective defense of the self-ruled island with U.S. forces.

Sunday’s controversial video calls on the Chinese leadership not only to retaliate against any Japanese troops that come to Taiwan’s aid, but also declare all-out war against Tokyo for intervening in its “unification” plans.

“When we liberate Taiwan, if Japan dares intervene by force, even if it only sends one soldier, one plane or one ship, we will not only return fire, but also start a full-scale war against Japan,” the commentary says.

“First, we will use nuclear bombs. We will continue to use nuclear bombs until Japan offers its second unconditional surrender,” it adds.

“We want to strike Japan’s capacity to endure war. As soon as Japan recognizes that it cannot afford to pay the price of war, it will not dare send troops to the Taiwan Strait,” the narrator continues.

The clip posted by the Baoji Communist Party account has received several hundred comments, all of which appeared to support the video’s proposal, which advocates a rethink of China’s NFU policy amid “major changes” in its surrounding security environment.

“All policies, tactics and strategies must be adjusted,” the video says. “In order to protect the peaceful rise of our country, it is necessary to make limited adjustments to our nuclear policy.”

As Japan is the only country to have experienced the effects of an atomic bomb, the commentary suggests a Chinese deterrence policy in which it could launch an atomic strike under certain conditions and would prove doubly effective.

“By singling out Japan as an ‘exception’ to our no first use commitment, we are warning Japan and the world that if Japan intervenes militarily in our domestic affairs, including in the unification of Taiwan, nuclear weapons will be used against Japan, and will be used continuously until its unconditional surrender,” the footage concludes.

The narrator also suggests China would seize the Japan-controlled Senkaku and Ryukyu islands in the process, before either taking over administrative control or allowing them to be independent.

He neither addresses the likelihood of either scenario, nor any adverse effects a nuclear strike on a nearby country would cause to China’s major coastal cities.

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