China Censoring Discussion of North Korean Nuclear Test

A soldier stands guard in front of the Unha-3 (Milky Way 3) rocket sitting on a launch pad at the West Sea Satellite Launch Site, during a guided media tour by North Korean authorities in the northwest of Pyongyang April 8, 2012. North Korea has readied a rocket for a launch from a forested valley in its remote northwest this week that will showcase the reclusive state's ability to fire a missile with the capacity to hit the continental United States. Picture taken April 8, 2012. REUTERS/Bobby Yip (NORTH KOREA - Tags: POLITICS MILITARY) ORG XMIT: PYG17

North Korea’s recent nuclear weapon coincided with China’s Brics Summit, which brought together leaders from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. Now, Chinese website moderators appear to be censoring discussion over the situation.

The popular microblogging site Sina WeiBo recently censored searchers for the term “Hydrogen Bomb.” According to censorship-monitoring website FreeWeibo, the top 3 terms banned by Weibo in the last 24 hours are “North Korea,” “Hydrogen Bomb” and “Brics.” The watchdog site also reports that posts from independent news sites that could be deemed alarming have been removed.

After users look up these banned terms, they are presented with the following message: “According to the relevant laws, regulations and policies, the results cannot be displayed.”

The Communist nation isn’t even allowing humor. Several jokes regarding Brics and the North Korean test have been censored or removed.  

One user by the handle Zhang Hongjie sarcastically posted  “North Korea set off a 6.3 scale firecracker to applaud the start of Brics”, before it was removed. Another known online as  IAmDaGang had his comment removed for posting  “Kim the Fat had set off a blast to celebrate.”

But for some users, the situation is no laughing matter. Many citizens are speculating that tense relations between North Korea and its biggest trading and military partner China could lead to a nuclear disaster.

User Wang Zhanyang noted that tremors were felt in Changchun, which is located 269 miles from the North Korean border. “There were people running out of their houses; in such a hazardous nuclear environment, how can we feel secure about the development of the economy?” he asked.

His post was also removed.

About Andrew Burke 145 Articles
Editor-in-Chief Andrew Burke is a lifelong aficionado of all things Chinese. He studied Mandarin while living in Taiwan for six years and now works as a digitization specialist at the Yenching Library, which specializes in Asian books and documents, at Harvard University where he also studies topics related to China, Chinese, Asia and foreign affairs.