Chinese state media kept up the heat on Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the first day of the new year, 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," Xinhua said in a commentary.
It highlighted Brandt's 1970 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."
The Beijing News ran photos of Brandt kneeling in Warsaw and current German chancellor Angela Merkel standing before a wreath with her head bowed during a visit to the site of the Dachau concentration camp.
The photos accompanied short articles on reactions - including by the German government - to Abe's shrine visit.
"The sincere remorse and in-depth reflection of Brandt and other German leaders paved the way for their nation to be accepted by the international community," Xinhua said. "The moment Brandt knelt down, his nation stood up."
Yesterday one of Abe's cabinet ministers paid his own visit to the shrine. Yoshitaka Shindo said he was renewing a wish for peace.
Watch: Abe's controversial visit to the Yasukuni shrine