North Korea could have played a role in online censorship on search terms related to Kim Jong Un, reports say. File Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo
SEOUL, Nov. 11 (UPI) -- North Korean authorities may have requested Beijing to block searches of a phrase that mocks Kim Jong Un, according to reports.
Hong Kong news service Apple Daily had reported a derogatory nickname for Kim, "Kim Fatty III," was producing no results on Chinese social media networks and on search engine giant Baidu.
The report suggested Pyongyang might have protested the term.
That news article, however, has also been deleted from search results on Chinese networks, according to South Korean newspaper Herald Business.
Reports say the epithet for North Korea's leader was still searchable in September. By October and November, the results were being censored.
Chinese online commenters began making fun of Kim after December 2011, when he was seen mourning his father during a ceremony in Pyongyang, according to China Digital Times.
The search term was not available as recently as Tuesday, the report stated, but social media users were sharing screenshots of what appeared to be the Apple Daily headline which read, "North Korea Requests Chinese People Respectfully Address Kim Jong Un, Not Call Him Other Names or Kim Fatty III!"
Chinese commenters have frequently used the term on networks to air their frustrations at the North Korean ruler.
In August, Beijing was enforcing a new policy to curb anti-North Korea speech ridiculing Kim and in September an anti-Kim Jong Un rally was held in a Chinese city but photographs of the protest were promptly deleted by Chinese government censors.