Monday, September 4, 2017

China Curbs Online Debate After Beijing Condemns North Korea's Nuclear Test

Image from article, with caption: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (C) attending a meeting with a committee of the Workers' Party of Korea about the test of a hydrogen bomb, Sept. 3, 2017.

China's state propaganda machine swung into action on Monday to dampen online comments after Beijing condemned North Korea's sixth and most powerful nuclear test on Sunday, which the isolated state said was of an advanced, "missile-ready" hydrogen bomb.

"Shut down all comment across the board on the North Korean announcement that [supreme leader] Kim Jong Un ordered a hydrogen bomb test, and related news items," the ruling Chinese Communist Party's propaganda czars said in a directive to news editors leaked and posted online by the U.S.-based China Digital Times website. ...
Wu Fei, senior fellow at the Chinese public diplomacy and international relations think tank Chahar Institute, said the timing of the test seemed to be designed to embarrass Beijing, which is hosting the leaders of emerging economies Brazil, Russia, India, and South Africa in Xiamen this week.

"China is currently hosting the BRICS economic summit, and I think this nuclear test is intended to remind the leaders of China and Russia that they need to be discussing the North Korean nuclear issue at that summit," Wu said. "China's notion of the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula is only a target, basically."

"[China] is trying to deal calmly with it, and not give [North Korea] any recognition."

Wu said North Korea wants to be "taken seriously." But he said the likelihood of that happening in Beijing was "not very high." ...

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