According to a report in an (somewhat) official Chinese newspaper, North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un didn’t just have his uncle and former second-most-powerful-official in his government purged and executed, he had his uncle eaten alive by dogs.
This is not a joke. It was not reported by the Onion. True, a report in an official Chinese newspaper might be viewed with suspicion. And, I hasten to add, WashPost foreign affairs blogger Max Fisher expresses huge skepticism that it really happened.
I must also add that the report is taken seriously by the more reliable Straits Times of Singapore, although the Straits Times seemed less interested in questioning whether the dog story is true than analyzing why the Chinese allowed it to be published.
The Straits Times took the reporting of the barbarous “execution by dogs” in the official Chinese press as the latest evidence that Beijing is completely fed up with its former ally, North Korea. According to the Straits Times, which attributed its account to the Chinese newspaper:
Unlike previous executions of political prisoners which were carried out by firing squads with machine guns, Jang was stripped naked and thrown into a cage, along with his five closest aides. Then 120 hounds, starved for three days, were allowed to prey on them until they were completely eaten up. This is called “quan jue,” or execution by dogs.
The report said the entire process lasted for an hour, with Mr Kim Jong Un, the supreme leader in North Korea, supervising it along with 300 senior officials.
The horrifying report vividly depicted the brutality of the young North Korean leader. The fact that it appeared in a Beijing- controlled newspaper showed that China no longer cares about its relations with the Kim regime.
The “supervising” of the proceedings by the “supreme leader” himself is especially choice and surely served as a warning to the 300 senior official he invited as his guests.
The precise offense for which Kim’s uncle, Jang Song Thaek, was not only purged but eaten has seemed murky in Western reporting, which seemed to attribute a bizarre importance to footage of Uncle Jang clapping unenthusiastically over the installation of the new leader.
The Singaporean coverage suggests that because Jang was “known for his close ties with Beijing,” the execution can be interpreted as a statement of Kim’s attitude toward China. The Straits Times noted that in describing the acts of treason committed by Jang, his dealings with China were mentioned three times.
The Kim family dynasty would not even exist were it not for Communist China’s intervention in the Korean war of the early 1950s, but relations have obviously become a lot dicier since then.