Gallery: Blocked on Weibo
Why it is blocked: 膏药 is a Chinese medicinal patch, like a large Band-Aid that comes prepackaged with an ointment used to treat aches and pains. Because the backside of many patches resembles the famous sun disc image of the Japanese flag, it is used pejoratively to refer to the Japanese flag, akin to calling the German flag Schwarz-Rot-Mostrich (“black-red-mustard”). Although technically on friendly terms today, Japan and China share a fraught past, with the Japanese invasions during the First Sino-Japanese War and World War II still not forgiven by most Chinese. These have lead to flashpoints like former Japanese prime minister Junichiro Koizumi’s annual visits to the Yasukuni Shrine and controversy in 2005 over Japan’s adoption of textbooks that reportedly glossed over the country’s World War II atrocities. More recently, in September 2010, a Chinese fishing trawler collided with a Japanese coast guard boat in disputed waters. An international incident was touched off when Japan initially detained the trawler’s crew but later released them after facing intense Chinese diplomatic pressure and mass protest by Chinese citizens. A similar sequence of events took place between August and September in 2012.
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