South Korea and Chinese media have confirmed that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has visited China. It was Kim’s first known visit to a foreign country since he took power after his father’s death in late 2011. China’s official Xinhua News Agency said Wednesday that Kim made an unofficial visit to China and met with President Xi Jinping at the Chinese leader’s request.
The short trip saw a North Korean train enter China on Monday but was otherwise cloaked in secrecy. The train looked like one used by Kim’s father, former North Korean leader Kim Jong Il. The speculation over just who traveled by special train from North Korea to Beijing drew a swift reaction from Chinese censors.
Searches for the term “North Korea” were blocked Tuesday while “Kim Jong Un” turned up results from several days ago on major social media platforms, including Sina’s Weibo.
China’s routine censorship of sensitive subjects online can even target words and phrases with tenuous, and even unlikely, connections.
One of those blocked Tuesday was a nickname Chinese have bestowed on the North Korean leader, Kim the Third Fatty (“Jin San Pang” in Chinese). A blocked Weibo post about Kim’s possible visit even shows a combination of three photos of a pig character in a fictional Chinese television series.