North Korea News: Why 3.5 Million Chinese Are Mocking Kim Jong-un

Attacking the United States, South Korea, and anything that comes in between them is precisely what bellicose North Korea is announcing it may do at any moment. North Korea is not interested in providing economic advancement for its people and the propaganda that North Koreans are fed since birth decimate hope for change from within. North Korea's war rhetoric is irrational to the foreign eye, but North Koreans are blinded by the loyalty and trust they have toward their leader. Change is happening, however, as the Chinese distance themselves from their long-time ally. A recent clip from The Daily Show, gone viral in China, sends this powerful message to the Chinese and North Korean leaders.

The media has had a lot to cover this past week, due to escalating tensions, giving a treasure-chest full of material to comedians like Jon Stewart. The Daily Show aired "Nuke Kid on the Block," a special segment poking fun at the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and the current diplomatic situation in the Korean Peninsula. His worldwide audience laughed, as usual, and the clip racked up 102,000 views on the official site — a regular night. But the clip made its way to a popular Chinese website, Sina, where the clip currently has over 3.5 million views. Jon Stewart has a new audience — if he keeps the North Korean jokes coming, that is.

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
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With photo-shopped images of amphibian tanks, hand-drawn attack maps pointing to Austin, Texas, and angry soldiers running up-hill WWI-style, North Korea seems to be a bit behind technology-wise. Relative to the U.S., perhaps "a bit behind" is not accurate enough.

"Two massive B-2 bombers soared 6,500 miles from Missouri to drop dummy weapons on a bombing range west of South Korea, and less than 50 miles from the North Korean border. And then flew black to the U.S."

"For lunch mother%$#$#@, for lunch!" added Jon Stewart.

“For lunch- ????? - ???!," said a Chinese viewer who pointed out this "cheap punch" was the highlight of the show. Well, it highlighted more than that. The Daily Show has been on the air since 1996 and China is usually part of the joke, but the frustration with North Korea's recent behavior was a mutually shared feeling.

China has long been North Korea's ally, but as China leverages its economic prowess to become a more active player in world politics, North Korea remains a major obstacle. The Chinese president began to delineate limits for the North Korean regime but the Chinese people gave earlier signs of discontent by making this video go viral. Modifying China's relationship with North Korea will be essential as China gains influence. The diminished role that North Korea may play in China's foreign policy will surely preoccupy North Korea. The Chinese alliance with North Korea is strategic in many aspects, but Kim Jong Un’s behavior has Chinese citizens questioning how strategic the alliance really is.

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Jean Pierre Salendres

As a junior at Columbia University, I am majoring in Political Science with particular interest in Energy, Immigration, and Education policy. I was born in Mexico City from a French father and a Mexican mother. Immigrating to the United States at the age of 11 sparked in me an interest for policy and social activism.

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