‘Fatty on the train,’ Chinese netizens bestow Kim Jong Un with new nickname
In order to get around censorship, Chinese web users have had to get creative in how they fat shame North Korea’s supreme leader
Following Kim Jong Un’s historic visit to Beijing this week, Chinese censors are now busy making sure that net users don’t call the North Korean supreme leader a “fatty.”
Terms like “Kim Three Fat” (金+三+胖), “Kim Three Pig” (金+三+猪), and “Third Fat Child” (三+胖+子) have been blocked on Weibo this week, according to the China Digital Times. The “threes,” of course, are referencing the fact that Kim Jong Un is the third Kim to rule North Korea after his grandfather and father.
Meanwhile, Free Weibo’s list of the top 10 most censored terms on the social media network currently includes Kim Jong Un (金正恩) at number one and “Kim Fatty III” (金三胖) at number five. “North Korea” (朝鲜) comes in at number 10.
Of course, this has made it rather difficult to have a discussion about one of the most significant events the world has seen this year.
But this is far from the first time that censors have cracked down on Chinese internet chatter about Kim’s weight. “Kim Fatty III” has been regularly blocked on Weibo for some years. Back in 2016, the nickname’s censorship made headlines following an alleged request from North Korean officials that China stop fat-shaming their supreme leader.
In order to get around these restrictions, Reuters reports that Chinese netizens have come up with some more creative nicknames for Kim, including “Fatty on the Train” and “The Obese Patient,” along with “the visitor from the north-east” and “the sibling next door.”
Social media censorship in China is always a large-scale game of cat-and-mouse. Following the announcement last month that China would scrap its limit on presidential terms, allowing Xi Jinping to remain leader for life, terms like “proclaim oneself emperor” (称帝), “personality cult” (个人崇拜), and “Xi Zedong” (习泽东) were blocked, along with historical references like Yuan Shikai (袁世凯) and “oppose Qing, restore Ming” (反清复明), as well as the phrase “to board a plane” (登机) for being a homophone of “to ascend the throne” (登基).
Of course, Chinese censors have also been known to censor the name of Winnie the Pooh (小熊维尼), a tubby fictional character that Xi Dada does not like being compared with one bit.
Kim’s visit to Beijing on Monday and Tuesday was his first to a foreign country since power following his father’s death in 2011. While the purpose of the trip isn’t entirely clear, Chinese state media reported that Kim had said he was “committed” to the denuclearization of the North Korean peninsula and expressed his willingness to meet with Donald Trump, another leader sensitive about his weight.