Despite strong regulation by the North Korean authorities, rumors about Kim Jong Il’s illness spread quickly through the students who took part in the parade at the September 9 commemorative events for the founding of the North Korean regime.
A source from North Hamkyung Province reported on Tuesday that “The story that the General (Kim Jong Il) had fallen down spread fast and widely among the college students who participated in the parade. They said that the General got sick in early August and is still in bed.”
The source explained about the parade, “Since May of this year, men over 168 centimeters-tall and women of 156 centimeters or more in the junior and senior classes in universities were selected, and participated in the practices for the parade. The trainers emphasized always that “This event is not a regular one because the General is coming.”
The students did not hear on the day that the General could not participate in the event. Many students did not notice whether or not Kim Jong Il was there on the Kim Jong Il Podium. After passing by the podium and marching away from the square, participants started whispering “The General was not there!” However, nobody thought he was ill, but they simply thought he was busy doing other things.
“When the students gathered to return to their homes in the morning on the 11th, rumors about Kim Jong Il’s health had already spread broadly,” the source said.
The students spread it even through provincial areas while returning to their regional universities.
This rumor reminded the source of a story about Kim Jong Il’s illness and he explained a veterans’ story from Chongjin, North Hamkyung Province.
According to the explanation of the source, on the 19th of this month, after a regular evaluation meeting of the Veterans League, the old representative veterans visited the Provincial Committee of the Party to ask about the latest rumors of Kim Jong Il’s condition.
When they visited the Party, they said, “We are heartbroken at the story that the General is sick. We want to discuss what we can do to help you in this unstable situation.” And then, the Province Committee of the Party became troubled.
The cadres and managers of the Party impelled them to speak of where they learned the rumor and dressed them down them because they dared to say something about the General’s health. The cadres reported the facts to the Chief Secretary of the Province Committee of the Party in North Hamkyung Province.
The Chief Secretary came to the veterans and said that “You, old veterans, should not act imprudently following the enemy’s maneuvers. The enemies are attempting to destroy the Republic (North Korea) and to ruin the honor of our General. You have to take the lead in criticizing the enemies’ acts.”
After that affair, the National Security Agency of the Province visited every house of the veterans, asked about the source of the rumor and made them keep silent about it. However, the NSA did not send them to prison.
Every People’s Unit has received an instruction saying that “There are those who defame our reputation by being entangled with the enemies’ maneuver. If they are caught, we won’t forgive them.” However, due to the crack down the rumors just circulated even faster than before.