China clamps down as rumours swirl of Kim Jong-un visit
Authorities scrubbed the internet to remove unflattering references to him, such as 'Fatty Fatty Fatty has come'
Shanghai — Chinese censors scrubbed social media of unflattering references to Kim Jong-un on Tuesday, while superstitious investors snapped up shares resembling the North Korean leader’s name, as rumours swirled that he was visiting Beijing.
The capital was under tight security, with a heavy police presence at venues where President Xi Jinping usually hosts foreign dignitaries, fuelling the speculation that Kim was in town.
State media and officials did not confirm whether Kim, or any other top North Korean official, was visiting Beijing after Japanese media reported that a special North Korean train had arrived in the city on Monday.
Authorities deleted or blocked any mention of Kim, North Korea or the supposed visit on the country’s heavily used social media, even going so far as to bar insulting Chinese nicknames for him.
Kim is often referred to on China’s internet by the moniker "Kim Fatty the Third" — as the third Kim to lead North Korea after his grandfather Kim Il-sung and father Kim Jong-il.
Even variations like "Fatty Fatty Fatty has come", "Fatty Fatty Fatty Beijing" and "he really came" appear to be banned phrases on the Twitter-like Weibo service.
But Chinese investors, who are known for their often bizarre, superstition-based buying choices, sought to make a profit off the rumoured visit.
The Mandarin character for "Kim" is pronounced "Jin" and means "gold", and some Chinese companies with Jin in their name soared on Tuesday.
A Chinese firm called Changbai Mountain Tourism, which is based in northeastern China, also surged by its 10% daily limit in Shanghai. Changbai mountain is a peak along the China-North Korea border.
Another firm called Dongguan Golden Sun Abrasives, a company that makes products like sandpaper, also surged by its 10% limit.
"Golden Sun" is seen by some Chinese as referring to Kim.
Other companies whose names contained at least one character from Kim’s full name also jumped.
In Shenzhen, Kingsignal Technology, which Chinese name contains the "Jin" character, also surged by its daily 10% limit.