North Korea: Did Kim Jong-Un Eat His Uncle? The 120 Dogs Continue To Starve
IN June 2013, about 100 protesters from a South Korean right-wing civic group staged an anti-North Korea demonstration, slashing a North Korean flag and burning an effigy of leader Kim Jong-Un.
Before that, On May 8 2012, locals in Pyongyang attacked an effigy of South Korea’s president Lee Myung-bak (no, it’s not Prince Charles). They used dogs and a tank.
In this game of effigy oneupmanship, rumours abound that North Korea is good to its word. Rumours abound that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un executed his uncle by tossing him naked into a pen of 120 hungry dogs. The number is precise. You might suppose that a country with an underfed population might nick the odd dog or three or feed the fresh human dog meat to its beloved leader, who looks like he could eat five men and still have room for their pets.
So. Did Jang Song Thaek die as the effigy foretold?
The story was broken by Wen Wei Po, a Hong Kong-based new organ at a time when public trust in Hong Kong newspapers is at all all-time low. Wen Wei Po’s current top story is that Michelle and Barack Obama have separated. Of 21 news organs, it ranks 19th for trustfulness. This paper says that Thaek and five other wonks were “completely eaten up” in the “quan jue,” or execution by dogs.
USA Today announces it as fact:
Kim Jong Un fed uncle alive to 120 starved dogs
The Express thundered:
Eaten alive by 120 starving dogs – How North Korea leader executed his uncle
In his excitement, Owen Bennett mistakes the starving dogs for staved prisoners:
The six condemned men had been starved for three days before being set on by the dogs in a process known as ‘quan jue’, or execution by dogs.
Well, dogs do like gnawing on bones.
The Times of India says:
The whole process lasted an hour, and as they were eaten hundreds of officials watched.
North Korea described Jang Song Thaek as “despicable human scum, worse than a dog”. And get a load of what dogs do to North Koreans, even unsavoury ones.
But might it be that Wen Wei Po, controlled by the Chinese state, is just out to paint Kim Jong Un as an out-of-control barbaric nutter?
The Straits Times reports:
The official litany of Jang’s treason implicated China three times. Jang was accused of underselling coal and other natural resources for which China was virtually the sole customer. He was also charged with “selling off the land of Rason economic and trade zone to a foreign country for a period of five decades under the pretext of paying debts”. Finally, he was accused of selling precious metals, thus disrupting the country’s financial stability. In fact, China purchased some of North Korea’s gold reserves several months ago.
He was also accused of aiding Chinese businessmen in securing low prices for North Korean goods and commodities.
Although as The Lede noted The Strait Times’s report might also be tempered by history:
The writer of the commentary, Ching Cheong, was a journalist for Wen Wei Po before joining The Straits Times. In April 2005, while employed by the Singapore newspaper, he was detained by Chinese security officers during a reporting trip in southern China. Despite protests by other journalists and human rights organizations, Chinese officials imprisoned him for three years on charges of spying for Taiwan.
So. A newspaper in Hong Kong makes a claim without citing a source. A paper in Singapore picks it up. And then the media get stuck in.
Still, one thing is certain: the men are dead. Aren’t they..?