August 11, 2021 Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 1594

A Threat Of Nuclear Attack On Japan Is Delivered In A Chinese Video Shared On A CCP-Controlled Media Outlet – What Does It Mean?

August 11, 2021 | By Chris King*
China | Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 1594


On July 11, 2021, on (Xigua Video), a Chinese online video-sharing platform owned by the Beijing-based Chinese company Bytedance, which is TikTok's parent company, the popular "The Strategy of the Six Services" account[1] posted a video warning that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) military would carry out nuclear strikes to deter Japan from defending Taiwan.[2]

Like many Chinese companies, ByteDance's governance structure, includes an internal CCP committee, which is headed by the company's vice president, Zhang Fuping. It is also reported that members of the Bytedance CCP committee regularly meet to study Chinese President Xi Jinping's thought and "pledge" to follow the CCP in technological innovation.[3]

Although the video was later removed due to criticism from netizens, its significance cannot be underestimated. The fact that CCP authorities allowed such a video to be posted on the platform has special meaning and implications. It is therefore important to analyze the meaning of this threat against Japan and by implication against its close ally, the U.S.

'We Will Use Nuclear Bombs Continuously Until Japan Declares Unconditional Surrender'

The video, which is almost 6 minutes long, stated that if Japan dares to stop the People's Liberation Army from "liberating" Taiwan, China will wage an all-out war against Japan, using nuclear bombs until Japan surrenders unconditionally.

(Source:, July 13, 2021)

It stated: "The general guiding principle is: When we liberated Taiwan, if Japan dares to intervene by force, even if it only deploys one soldier, one plane and one ship, we will not return reciprocal fire, but wage an all-out war against Japan. We will use nuclear bombs in the first battle and we will use nuclear bombs continuously until Japan declares unconditional surrender for the second time. What we want to target is Japan's ability to endure a war. As long as Japan realizes that it cannot afford to pay the price of war, it will not dare to rashly send troops to the Taiwan Strait.

"In 1964, when our country's first atomic bomb was successfully detonated, we made a commitment to the world that we would not use atomic bombs against non-nuclear countries and that we would not be the first to use them.

(Source: Inconvenient Truths-First Hand From China YouTube channel, July 14, 2021)

"Nearly 60 years have passed, [and] although the strength of our nuclear deterrent has been somewhat affected, this decision has been a success and has safeguarded our peace when we built our country. Now the international situation has changed dramatically. Our country is in the midst of a major change unseen in a century. Therefore, all political policies, strategies, and tactics must be adjusted and changed in the midst of such a major change.

"In order to ensure the peaceful rise of our country, it is necessary to make limited adjustments to our nuclear policy. We solemnly put forward the 'Japan Exception Theory.' Japan has taken the initiative to harm the Chinese people many times in modern times... Japan has not taken a serious stand in acknowledging the atrocities committed against China. If Japan goes to war with China for the third time, the Chinese people will repay the old and new grudges together."

The video also mocked Japan as the only country in the world that has been struck by atomic bombs, stating that its government and people have a strong memory of these bombings and are "submissive" to the U.S. that bombed them. It is precisely this "unique feeling" in Japan, it said, that will give the Chinese Communist Party's nuclear deterrence " twice the result with half the effort."

(Source:, July 13, 2021)

The video concluded with a warning that the exclusion of Japan from the Chinese Communist Party's commitment not to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear countries and the CCP's commitment not to use nuclear weapons first under any circumstances is an "exception," stating: "We are warning Japan and informing the world that if Japan interferes militarily in our domestic affairs, including the 'unification' of Taiwan by the mainland, nuclear weapons will surely be used against Japan and will be used continuously until its unconditional surrender. There will be no peace talks in the meantime, and we will take back the Diaoyu Islands (Senkaku Islands) and the Ryukyu Islands."

July 7 Is The Anniversary Of Japan's 1937 Full-Scale Invasion Of China

The video is a direct response to the Japanese government's recurring pro-Taiwan remarks. On July 5, 2021, Japanese Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso stressed that Japan could exercise its right "to collective self-defense in a limited way" if China invades Taiwan. "In such a case, Japan and the United States will have to work together to defend Taiwan," Taro Aso said in a speech in Tokyo.[4]

Earlier, on June 24, Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said that Taiwan's security is directly connected to Japan,[5] and on June 28, Japanese State Minister for Defense Yasuhide Nakayama also said that China poses a growing threat in space, missile technology, cyber, nuclear and conventional forces. He added that under the leadership of Xi Jinping, China has "aggressive, aggressive...thinking and will," and went on to say: "So we have to protect Taiwan as a democratic country… So wake up. We have to wake up." He also noted that since Japan and Taiwan are close geographically, events in Taiwan would affect Japan's Okinawa prefecture, where U.S. forces are based.[6]

Furthermore, it is worth noting that the video was released on July 11, just two days before Japan released its new Defense White Paper that focuses on the U.S.-China rivalry and asserts that Taiwan is important to Japan's national security.

(Source: NHK World)

It is also important to stress that both the publication of the video by the CCP-controlled media outlet and the recent pro-Taiwan statements by Japanese officials coincide with the anniversary of the July 7, 1937 national humiliation of China, when Japan launched a full-scale invasion against it. This year, the anniversary has certainly touched Beijing's sensitive nerve of history. In this context, the release of this video carries a strong sense of warning and revenge.

(Source: Inconvenient Truths-First Hand From China YouTube channel, July 14, 2021)

China Threatens Japan With The Aim Of Warning The U.S. Not To Meddle With Taiwan

The CCP's ultimate warning to Japan is aimed at warning the U.S. not to interfere in the Taiwan issue. Indeed, the warning is also part of the CCP's anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) strategy.[7] Furthermore, the content of the video is in line with the tone of Xi Jinping's speech at the July 1, 2021 celebration of the CCP's centenary, in which he warned the U.S., without explicitly naming it, and discussed the Taiwan issue.

In his speech, Xi said: "... We will never, however, accept insolent lecturing from those [i.e. the U.S.] who feel they have the right to dictate to us. ... By the same token, we will never allow any foreign force [i.e. the U.S.] to bully, oppress, or enslave us. Anyone who would attempt to do so will bash their heads and spill blood on the Great Wall of steel built from the flesh and blood of over 1.4 billion Chinese people."

About Taiwan, Xi stated: "Resolving the Taiwan question and realizing China's complete reunification is a historic mission and an unshakable commitment of the Communist Party of China. It is also a shared aspiration of all the sons and daughters of the Chinese nation. We will uphold the one-China principle and the 1992 Consensus, and advance peaceful national reunification. All of us, compatriots on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, must come together and move forward in unison. We must take resolute action to smash any attempt toward 'Taiwan independence,' and work together to create a bright future for national rejuvenation. No one should underestimate the firm resolve, the strong will, and the formidable capacity of the Chinese people to defend their national sovereignty and territorial integrity."[8]

Xi's pointed and forceful remarks are not merely domestic propaganda to stir nationalist sentiment, as some analysts have suggested, but rather an expression of his own inner intentions. For Xi, who wants to match and surpass Mao Zedong in his achievements and win over the segment of Chinese who are nostalgic for the Mao era,[9] resolving the Taiwan question is obligatory. In fact, following the 2018 removal of presidential term limits, Xi gave himself, inter alia, enough time to complete the conquest of Taiwan.

Since the Beijing Winter Olympics will be held in February 2021 and the 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party will take place in the second half of 2022, a military reunification of Taiwan with China is unlikely in the next year, unless a major event forces the CCP to act. After 2022, Xi will begin his third term as CCP leader and president. He will also turn 70, and health and age factors will lend a greater sense of urgency to accomplish his "great cause."

Indeed, China's new guidelines for developing a comprehensive transportation network, unveiled by the CCP Central Committee and China's State Council in early 2021, lays out a plan for a high-speed railroad from Fuzhou, in China's southeast, to Taiwan's capital Taipei.[10] Based on similar construction projects, such a high-speed rail project across the Taiwan Strait can take about 10 years to complete – meaning that when it begins, around 2025, it could conceivably be completed and in use by 2035. Thus, 2023-2025 will constitute an important window for a forceful CCP takeover of Taiwan. Furthermore, the CCP's 2005 Anti-Secession Law itself set vague preconditions for an armed attack on Taiwan.[11] That is to say, the Xi Jinping administration will find any way for an excuse to lower the threshold for an armed attack and unify Taiwan with China by force.

In U.S.-China High-Level Talks In July, China Warned U.S. Not To Meddle And To And 'Act Prudently' On Taiwan

Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman with China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi. (Source:

On July 26, amid strained ties, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman went to the Chinese city of Tianjin for high-level talks with Foreign Minister Wang Yi and other senior Chinese officials. However, ahead of the meeting in China, Sherman toured East Asia, visiting Japan, South Korea and Mongolia. In Japan, on July 20, she held a trilateral meeting with Japanese Deputy Foreign Minister Mori Takeo and Republic of Korea First Deputy Foreign Minister Choi Jong Kun, in which she opposed any attempts to change the status quo in the East and South China seas.[12] On July 21, Sherman also met with Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi, and at that meeting again reaffirmed the importance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.[13]

Upon her arrival in China on July 26, Sherman met with Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng. During the meeting, Xie Feng lashed out at Sherman, stressing that China-U.S. relationship is now in a "stalemate" and faces "serious difficulties." Xie accused the U.S. of creating an "imaginary enemy," stating, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry: "For quite some time, when talking about the conflict with China and challenges facing the U.S., the 'Pearl Harbor moment' and the 'Sputnik moment' have been brought up by some Americans. What does it imply? Some international scholars, including some U.S. academics, perceive this as comparing China to Japan in the Second World War and the Soviet Union in the Cold War… The hope may be that by demonizing China, the U.S. could somehow shift domestic public discontent over political, economic and social issues and blame China for its own structural problems. It seems that a whole-of-government and whole-of-society campaign is being waged to bring China down. It is as if when China's development is contained, all U.S. domestic and external challenges would go away, and America would become great again and Pax Americana would continue to go on. The U.S. keeps making an issue with China. It's as if the U.S. side has nothing to talk about except about China. We urge the United States to change its highly misguided mindset and dangerous policy."[14]

Ahead of his meeting with Sherman, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, following Xi's line, told Chinese media that "if the U.S. thinks it is superior and it is unprepared to treat other countries equally, then China and the international community have a responsibility to 'tutor' the U.S. on diplomacy."[15]

When Wang met with Sherman, in rare high-level talks, he presented a list of three conditions, with the tone of an ultimatum in order for U.S.-China relations to work. The third condition in the list dealt with Taiwan: "The United States must not infringe upon China's state sovereignty, or even damage China's territorial integrity ... As for the Taiwan question, it's even more important. ... If 'Taiwan independence' forces dare to provoke, China has the right to take any necessary measure to stop it. We urge the U.S. side to honor its commitment on Taiwan question and act prudently."[16]

It is worth noting that also during the Anchorage, Alaska meetings in March 2021, CCP Political Bureau Central Committee member and Office of the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs director Yang Jiechi told the U.S that Taiwan is an "inalienable part of China's territory," adding that China is "firmly opposed" to U.S. interference in China's internal affairs. "We have expressed our staunch opposition to such interference and we will take firm actions in response," Yang said.[17]

Tensions therefore remain high, as the possibility of a China-U.S. (and Japan) conflict over Taiwan looms. Xi Jinping is determined to unify Taiwan with China, and is preparing public opinion, the army, and diplomacy for a military invasion of the island. The U.S. should also get ready.

*Chris King is Senior Research Fellow for the MEMRI Chinese Media Studies Project. King was an active participant in the student protests in China in 1989.


[1]'s account, The Strategy of the Six Services, posted its first video on November 22, 2020, and has 2.03 million followers. Its main coverage is global watch, military analysis and situation commentary.

[2], July 13, 2021;, July 15, 2021.

[3], January 24, 2020.

[4], July 5, 2021.

[5], June 25, 2021.

[6], June 29, 2021.

[7] A defensive strategy used to prevent an adversary from occupying or traversing an area of land, sea or air.

[8], July 1, 2021.

[10], February 24, 2021;, March 1, 2021.

[11], March 14, 2005;,China%20should%20occur%2C%20or%20that, March 29, 2005.

[12], July 20, 2021.

[13], July 21, 2021.

[14], July 26, 2021.

[15] Phoenix TV, July 24, 2021.

[16], July 26, 2021.

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