Chinese Netizens Sound Off on North Korea [I]

In a recent post I characterized a rather strange story in the Chinese press that held up an idealized view of North Korea.  Why was Xinhua holding up the DPRK as a kind of patriotic utopia, and what would be the response of the largely young readership of the Huanqiu Shibao, a publication known for its nationalism?

Well, 39 pages of comments later, I have a few thoughts, just excerpts, from the scrum (translations are far from exact!):

“Of course North Korea is screwed up; America, South Korea and Japan daily write words to undermine and destroy North Korea, saying that North Korea is hungry, that Kim Jong Il is already dead…I don’t know whether there was a famine or not, but if your [Western] media doesn’t portray Kim Il Song closely and repeatedly, isn’t it easier to believe?  So how can you [e.g., the West] tell us what is going on in North Korea?  You don’t need to use American and Japanese second-hand reports that just serve to destroy people’s character!  And sure, North Korea is poor, but is China poor or not?  China, compared to Europe and the U.S., still has a big difference, whereas the [economic] difference with North Korea is much smaller.  Truly, you don’t see poor people there, but we are supposed to think that everyone is poor?  Isn’t this a joke?”

[The same commenter goes on for a while, recalling “during the three years of natural disasters” (e.g., 1958-61, the Great Leap Forward) that Chinese peasants from Shandong and the Northeast went to North Korea in search of food — which is true!]

“Our past is truly North Korea’s present; we have advanced but still have difficulties.  Our corruption and trends toward a dual-class society are much worse than North Korea, but economically we have developed much faster than North Korea.  And who has departed further from communism?  It’s hard to say clearly.  In looking at North Korea, we must take our own shortcomings under consideration and remove them!”

and then there is this off-the-handle, stream of consciousness post which I can only approximate, but I think it’s a bit of genius:

Chinese people today, you can’t report nasty words, so instead find someone to study Lei Feng — as today’s people find that Lei Feng’s name has become representative of something handsome indeed — and every day in the Chinese news you find whatever pollution/rape/murder/secret societies with no cure.  In this society you can’t study, can’t find work, can’t stay married, can’t buy an apartment, can’t have a kid or raise a kid, old people can’t die, and the places and values of 30 years ago are all stuffed full of cash or anger.  So imagine instead a place with no pressure to work, where all you need to do is study, where the country takes care of all your housing and your marriage to make it all OK…And sure, there today there is no money, there are no rights, no work, no place to live, no car or garage, no daughters to give; and bright people have no use for kindness because it has become an old and useless word…The life of the past was bitter, but it had meaning (Serve the country, serve socialism as the highest logic).


We used to be patriotic, now we have all become selfish…Foremost, we should earnestly study how North Korea opposes America’s shitty power.

Doesn’t North Korea make America scared?

and the more critical comments

Self-deception, turning black into white — ha! This is truly a joke, truly funny.

In the 1960s, Japanese left-wing cultural figures also thought China was a kind of heaven.

Perhaps not surprisingly, Xinhua stories that look at North Korean society, nurturing a kind of implicit “revolutionary nostalgia,” serve instead as a platform for discussion of the Cultural Revolution.  Many comments deal with China’s 1960s.

There is also a dispute going on within the comments about the interviewed student in the original article; faced with accusations that her remarks were basically planted, her classmates arrive on the BBS to defend Chen Mo’s naive impressions of the DPRK.

Further comments on the story, along with plenty of calls for “civilized behavior” (e.g., placeholders for deleted comments), are here on the Huanqiu’s site.

"Pyongyang city residents go to greet Chinese President Wen Jiabao, October 6," 中国青年报 photo accompanying the story entitled "North Korea is Truly a Country Worthy of Our Respect" -- photo by Li Jianquan -- click image to link to the story

Related posts:

Anti-Chinese Propaganda for North Koreans — (October 27, 2009)

North Korea Test Fires Two Missiles: Chinese Media Reports on DPRK — (October 12, 2009)

–(October 10, 2009)

More Data on North Korean Succession Struggles (September 30, 2009; includes translations from the French press)


  1.   金正“日”(老子)像个太阳(黑太阳)。印假钞、制鸦片、贩军火、试导弹、搞核武,手握这五张王牌,自家的小日子混得悠哉游哉!可苦了北韩人民饥肠辘辘。


    1. 何健,
      谢谢你来这儿的大评论。 因为您发现了好几个评论,我回答一下。。。(但是应该先道歉;我老头写字太少了,能说你是我的模范,但是如果模范的话,我还有缺乏:我的政治观点不比您的观点新鲜。。。您的评论特别鼓励我, 真的 — 之前的中国人来这儿的评论少,我希望多得多交流,在我们的博客面宣布新大字报,恢复五四的精神!) 阿。。。您的第一个句子, 这个意思“日“ 翻身,打倒了,现在“黑”, 我还有建议:南韩的“日光政策“ 的反对者(例子是小布什总统从2001年到2006年)也是反金家族,但是谁会末日光? 我去过吉林省 的全边区(鸭绿江的北岸), 没有一个地方在被朝鲜内有自由。 中国当然改变的大,从文革时候基础也改变了。 当然还有共产党的名称,但是干革命和什么无产阶级斗争没有 — 秦始皇也去世了 — 但是北朝鲜还有这“共产主义“ 的最不好点根一个 “朝鲜华“ 的秦始皇帝地精神! 怀!


      关于张成泽先生(Jang Song-thaek), 请看“北朝鲜领导参考“ (North Korea Leadership Watch), 比较完全的英文博客 (作家,记者Michael Madden) — 比我写的东西新鲜多了– 根你一样!

      谢谢评论, 对不起我写方法问题还没拒绝了。 还需要10年,20年时间为学了在苦海中。

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