China’s ambassador to Britain compared Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to a controversial war shrine with that of Lord Voldemort, the villain in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, in The Daily Telegraph newspaper. The op-ed came out as tensions between China and Japan continue to escalate with PM Abe’s recent visit to the Yasukuni Shrine, which honors Japanese wartime dead, including 14 Class A war criminals from World War II.
Ambassador Liu Xiaoming said, “In the Harry Potter story, the dark wizard Voldemort dies because the seven horcruxes, which contain parts of his soul, have been destroyed,” adding further, “if militarism is like the haunting Voldemort of Japan, the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo is a kind of horcrux, representing the darkest parts of that nation’s soul.” Prime Minister Abe maintains that the visit to the shrine was done “to pledge and determine that never again will people suffer in war,” while other nations see it as a reminder of Japanese aggression to China and other Asian countries in the 20th century.
Countering the visit, China has since announced that Abe is “not welcome” in their country through a statement by Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Qin Gang, and called on other nations, particularly his counterparts in Russia, Germany, South Korea, Vietnam and the United States to express his alarm over the visit. Even Liu’s op-ed seems to ask for a sympathetic ear from its British readers, as he reminded them that Japanese wartime aggression included their fellow countrymen.