Netizen Voices: Fear of Radiation from North Korea

Protesting North Korea’s nuclear tests in Harbin, China.

After North Korea’s nuclear test yesterday, Chinese netizens have voiced concern that radiation could reach across the border. Rumors about nuclear pollution in the northeast continue to surface, but to date the government has issued no formal report. Today, the People’s Daily tried to quell fears on Weibo by reporting the results of Japan’s radiation tests:

@PeoplesDaily: [North Korean Nuclear Test: Japan Has Not Detected Radioactivity] The Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology reported on the 13th that following North Korea’s nuclear test, levels of radioactivity measured throughout Japan were the same as before the test. Additionally, Self-Defense Forces aircraft flew in Japanese airspace on the 12th, collecting large amounts of airborne particles, which they delivered to the Japan Chemical Analysis Center, the organization under the auspices of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology that is entrusted with analyzing the samples. No radioactivity from the nuclear test was detected. via @TopNewsInternational


Instead of calming the public, the People’s Daily only provoked more anger and uncertainty among netizens. People left comments on Weibo asking what Chinese government scientists had to hide:

@UnconventionalChildKing: Excuse me, what about China’s test results? Are they stalling on tests? Or do they not dare to release the results?


@laodan2010: The People’s Daily is overlooking the common concerns of the Chinese people and isn’t reporting on the state of China’s test results. Meanwhile, it’s announcing Japan’s test results. It really is asking for a tongue-lashing!


@SecretlyLaughingPiglet: An explosion occurs on China’s border, but we still have to learn whether or not there is radioactivity from foreign media. Our society and government are truly tragic.


@TheThirdEarl: CCTV journalists reported live from the scene during the U.S. snowstorm, while this is happening right on our national border. I don’t know what high-level or national media think about this, but comparing the two incidents, how can average people tolerate this?


@WangChuan: The People’s Daily cares so much for the Japanese people! It’s Japan’s conscience-in-media.

@王川: 人民日报对日本人民十分关心!是日本的良心报

@SanHeTech: The Chinese government should publicly announce how radiation from North Korea’s nuclear explosion has impacted China. It’s enough that they won’t announce anything themselves, but now they are even deleting online information from the Japanese government. Isn’t that low of them?


@SuYaoshirley: I demand that detection tests take place in Jilin. We are in Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture, very close to North Korea, and an unnatural earthquake shook us. If there is nuclear radiation and radioactive pollution, we will have no way of ensuring our physical health!


@SanHeTech: When we have no enemies, we create them and say that external hostile forces are trying to overthrow the government. When we have enemies, even when they set off nuclear explosions on our doorstep, we still say they’re targeting enemies 80,000 kilometers away and that it doesn’t have a d**n thing to do with us.


Despite chastising North Korea, China’s lukewarm response to the nuclear tests is seen by western analysts as nothing more than a Cold War-style feint.

Via CDT Chinese. Translation by Liz Carter.