A Local Newspaper’s Full-Page Feature on Nuclear Radiation Survival Stirs Panic in China

Jilin Daily’s full page feature on nuclear radiation.

(GVO) – On December 6, 2017, Jilin Daily published a full-page feature on nuclear weapons and how to protect oneself in case of a nuclear radiation. This led many, in particular, residents from northern China to ask if the newspaper report is an anticipation of a United States military action against North Korea’s missile test.

Jilin province is located in north China near North Korea. Jilin Daily is affiliated with the local government of the province.

On November 29, North Korea launched a test on an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching all part of U.S. mainland. Earlier, U.S. President Donald Trump warned to bring a “rain” of “fire and fury” on North Korea if the country’s leader Kim Jong Un continued to threaten U.S. security. China, in particular the northern part of China, would be affected by the “rain”.

Meanwhile, another leaked document from Jilin’s China mobile company indicated that the Jilin government has established five refugee sites in Changbai province, which shares 260 kilometers of border with North Korea.

Public discussion regarding potential warfare in North Korea was deleted quickly from social media platforms. Even party-affiliated Global Times had to withdraw its editorial upon publishing online (retrieved via Voices of America):

目前半岛局势紧张,朝鲜已进行了六次核试验,被广泛认为已经拥有了核弹头。另外朝鲜的导弹技术今年以来快速突破,成功试射了射程可覆盖美国本土的洲际弹道导弹。美国发誓扼杀朝鲜经济,美韩对朝军事压力进一步升级,美朝发生军事冲突的风险在增加。而吉林省与朝鲜接壤,该省省报在这个时候刊出核武器常识及其防护的整版介绍,立刻让人想到这是该省对半岛战争风险的一种反应。

Currently, tension is mounting in the Korean Peninsula. North Korea has launched six nuclear tests and it is believed that the country is already equipped with a nuclear bomb. Moreover, its missile launching technology has reached a breakthrough this year and has successfully launched a missile that can reach all parts of the U.S. continent. The U.S has vowed that it would destroy North Korea economy and exercise military pressure. The risk of military conflict between the U.S and North Korea has escalated. Jilin shares border with North Korea, the whole page feature on nuclear radiation precaution is believed to be a reaction to the risk of warfare in the Korean peninsula.

Despite censorship, anxious posts about military conflicts keep popping up on popular Chinese social media platform Weibo. One Weibo user believes that the news feature published by Jilin Daily was approved by the central government:

今天这事吧确实不是开玩笑,你们要知道中国的新闻审核制度有多严,这种内容能发出来一定是经过高层授意,又层层批准的。上边要告诉你们点什么,但又不能说的太明显,东北老铁可以密切留意沈阳美国总领事馆的动向,一旦老美撤了,啥也别管赶紧走

This is not a joke. You all know that news censorship in China is very strict. Such kind of content has to be approved by senior officials before circulation. The leaders want to tell you something but can’t say that explicitly. Fellows in Dongbei (northern China), please observe the U.S consulate in Shenyang, if they retreat, run away.

Even though state-affiliated news outlets had tried to downplay the possibility of a war, many are still worried about radiation if military action was taken by the U.S. against North Korea’s nuclear facilities:

核弹没升空炸了,东北也危险吧?

Even if the nuclear missile exploded in the sky, Dongbei area will still be endangered, right?

More critical comments blamed the government for the nuclear crisis:

防朝核,韩国日本有萨德,爱国者导弹,航母作战群;台湾有铺路爪,俄罗斯有沃罗涅日M系统全天候防御,唯一看不清挡不住朝鲜核弹的,只有中国。核弹当前,吉林人民只有一张介绍常识的廉价报纸!当初反对萨德走上街头怒砸韩国车的愤青们呢,该你们到朝核第一线了。

To prevent a North Korea nuclear missile attack, South Korea and Japan are equipped with Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), MIM-104 Patriot and Aircraft Carriers; Taiwan has Phased Array Warning System, Russia has Voronezh-M radar system as precaution. China is the only country which cannot clearly detect and counter North Korea missiles. Now with the threat of H-bomb, people in Jilin can only rely on newspapers which educate people with radiation common sense. Where have all the patriotic youths who protested against the THAAD by crushing Korean vehicles gone? Shouldn’t you be standing in the front line?

由于中国特色政府长期暗中支持朝鲜,致使朝鲜从无核到有核,现在已经威胁到世界人民的生命财产安全,为此,中国特色政府应该对朝核问题造成的恶果负全部责任。

Since government with Chinese character [China government] has been supporting North Korea in secret, the country eventually got its nuclear weapon. Now it is threatening the security of all people in the world. Hence, the government with Chinese character should be responsible for all adverse effects of the North Korea nuclear crisis.

Originally published on Global Voices by Oiwan Lam