In recent weeks, Daily NK has heard rising and unprecedented criticisms of Kim Jong Un from its sources in North Korea as the news of Kim Jong Nam’s murder continues to spread throughout the country by word-of-mouth.
Although the case appears to be coming to a close as Malaysia has released Kim Jong Nam’s body and the three North Koreans wanted for questioning over his murder, the case is still a hot topic within North Korea as more of the population learns of the story. Criticism is rising among the residents, as most believe that Kim Jong Un, who ordered the execution of his uncle Jang Song Thaek, is also wholly responsible for the assassination of his half-brother.
A source in South Pyongan told Daily NK on April 5 that public opinion of Kim Jong Un has further worsened as his secret family history has been exposed. Rumors are spreading fast as ordinary citizens have become aware of Kim Jong Nam’s existence.
“People have been shocked by the news and consequently criticizing the Kim family. The North Korean authorities have previously managed to keep much of Kim Jong Un’s familial details a secret, but some things have been gradually exposed through the Kim Jong Nam case,” the source said.
“Jang Song Thaek wasn’t a blood relative of Kim Jong Un, so it was far less shocking than the murder of his half-brother. I’ve heard the words ‘this is inhuman’ and ‘something you’d expect to see in a historical drama’ thrown around a lot during such discussions.”
As the news has spread rapidly across the country, the authorities are scrambling to suppress it, showing grave concern for the network of traders and Hwagyo (ethnic Chinese community) that come and go across the border to China, and the spread of news through the country’s market networks.
A source in North Pyongan Province said, “The Central Party is doing anything and everything to draw people’s attention away from the incident.”
“Recently, provincial, municipal, and county Party Committee officials have been investigating local people and workers at the state enterprises, demanding that they ‘write down any and all wild rumors that they’ve heard.’ This is to terrify people into not speaking about or listening to rumors about the Kim Jong Nam incident.”
Officially, North Korea continues to deny its involvement in Kim Jong Nam’s murder through its international media avenues, while remaining absolutely silent about the case in its state-run media targeted at the domestic audience.