North Korea has been in the news a lot recently, both because it keeps getting hacked and because it keeps threatening to blow stuff up. But as the sabre-rattling gets louder, one important question is: what does China think of all this? After all a war, especially a nuclear war, is likely to affect Chinese citizens to a much greater extent than it is anyone in the US or Europe.
Since China is on holiday break right now and as a result there’s not much going on in the tech industry, we hopped onto Sina Weibo to see what the digital consensus was about North Korea.
A lot of what we found was jokes. In fact, one of the most widely-retweeted comments on North Korea was this one, which links to a Chinese-subtitled clip from American comedy news show The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. It’s pretty funny (which is why we’ve embedded it below), and Weibo users clearly agree as almost all the comments on that weibo post are positive. Chinese users are also enjoying the North Korean propaganda film about the terrible lives of Americans (who can only eat birds and drink coffee made from snow) that has gone viral in the West (this popular weibo post has the video subtitled in Chinese).
Another popular post expressed the hope (somewhat sarcastically I believe) that Kim ratchet up the tension even more so that he can “either let the Juche Ideology shine upon all of humanity or join Gaddafi and Saddam’s party [i.e., die] as quickly as possible.” Still another points out that in the event of the war, China might be obligated to fight itself, as its treaty with North Korea requires it to support the Hermit Kingdom, but its position on the UN Security Council could obligate it to provide troops if the UN resolved to send peacekeepers to North Korea to stifle Kim’s agression.
All in all, China’s new users don’t seem to be taking North Korea’s threats all that seriously. Kim Jong Un, known as “Fatty Kim” among many Chinese commenters, remains the butt of jokes and scorn, and by and large people don’t seem to worried about an actual war breaking out. Perhaps Lil’ Kim will take this as a sign — when even your closest allies are laughing at you, perhaps it’s time to change strategies.
(image via The Daily Show with Jon Stewart)