BEIJING - Chinese state media kept up the heat on Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the first day of 2014, urging him to learn from Germany in dealing with divisive historical issues.
"Abe's conspicuous lack of historical honesty contrasts shamefully with the courage and vision of late West German Chancellor Willy Brandt," the official Xinhua news agency said in a commentary Wednesday.
It highlighted Brandt's 1974 visit to a monument in Poland to victims of the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto Uprising - a revolt by Jews against deportations to Nazi death camps that was brutally crushed by German troops - when he famously fell to his knees.
What Brandt did was a "spontaneous act of genuine repentance", Xinhua added.
"He said no words, but his silent apology spoke a lot: Germany repents its history, is willing to make up for the past, and stands ready to earn the international trust it needs to move on."
China has intensified criticism of Abe since December 26 when he visited Tokyo's controversial Yasukuni Shrine. It honours several high-level officials executed for war crimes after World War II, and serves as a reminder of Japan's 20th century aggression against China and other Asian nations.
On Monday Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang said Abe "himself closes a door of dialogue with Chinese leaders" and is "not welcome" by the Chinese people.
One Wednesday one of Abe's cabinet ministers paid his own visit to the shrine. Yoshitaka Shindo said he was renewing a wish for peace.