Following a month replete with theories on his whereabouts, Daily NK has learned that recently demoted Choe Ryong Hae,
formerly a Korean Workers’ Party secretary, has been receiving “revolutionary
education” at a collective farm located in Deokseong County. South Hamgyong
“Choe has been at one of the leading
agricultural producers, Jangheung Collective Farm. He is reportedly working
alongside the farmers there, engaging in typical grunt work [as part of his re-education],”
a source in South Hamgyong Province recently reported to Daily NK, adding
that he was been there since November 9.
Additional sources in the same province as
well as Yanggang Province corroborated this news.
Choe was sent to Jangheung after taking
responsibility for the poor construction on the Mt. Baekdu Songun Youth Power
Plant, news of which has “spread far and wide across the country by now,”
according to the source.
Speculation as to what led Choe to this
point is running rampant among citizens, many of whom recall that in the past
he was sent for re-education to the Geomdeok Mines in South Hamgyong Province
following an alleged incident of infidelity in Pyongyang.
Accordingly, “some have wondered if he
didn’t take responsibility for the problems at the power plant in a reckless
effort to impress Kim Jong Un. Now, as he toils at the collective farm in South
Hamgyong Province, people are joking around that he’s on a ‘re-educational tour
of our nation,” he said.
Others–including ordinary citizens and
Party cadres alike–contest that the punishment does not fit the crime. The
power plant in question was completed in time for the Workers’ Party Foundation
Day festivities on October 10 per the orders of Kim Jong Un, and some say that
blaming Choe for the subsequent water leak at the plant amid expedient
construction “is going too far.”
“On the other hand, even if Choe was not
directly responsible for the leak, he did fail to report it properly to Kim
Jong Un, so others say that he should be punished for his failure,” the source
It is Party cadres who are said to pity Choe the most, but likely only because “they see themselves as
potential next victims in a similar situation,” he asserted.
“Most cadres say you shouldn’t try too hard. But since you can’t slack off too much, the best way to survive is by striking
the right balance.”