Execution news spreading quickly across NK

News of the execution of Hyon Yong Chol,
North Korea’s defense minister, is traveling swiftly throughout the country,
while lectures for military cadres have been propagating Hyon’s purge on account
of “insubordinance to the country’s monolithic leadership,” Daily NK has

Among ordinary members of the public, Kim
Jong Un’s execution of high-level officials to consolidate his power has been
dubbed a practice of “cannibalistic politics.”

“People in rural areas are yet unaware of
the public shooting of the Minister of the People’s Armed Forces [MPAF], but rumors
have started to spread in Pyongyang and Sinuiju,” a source from North Pyongan
Province told Daily NK over the weekend. “The rumors are spreading quickly, so
within a few days people in provincial areas will know of his execution.”

He added, “It has been the norm for
hundreds of other military cadres to be purged if a high-level official such as
the defense chief is kicked out or executed due the country’s practice of
guilt-by-association.” This applies not only the core members of the MPAF, but
also heads of businesses affiliated with the military and donju [newly affluent
middle class]earning in foreign currency, described by the source as “shaking with
fear” after the most recent execution.  

The vast majority of people lack interest in matters taking place within the military, but those running in more socially aware crowds are calling the public execution an act that goes against all norms, “abhorrent just like the Simhwajo incident from the ‘90s (a series of purges carried out
in the late ‘90s to consolidate Kim Jong Il’s power),” according to the source.

“Most people know that as a child, Kim Jong Un had the tendency of getting angry and tormenting others around him if he
lost at any sports game,” he said, adding that “his regime is even more brutal
than his father’s songun [military-first politics] dictatorship.”

The uncertainty blanketing the situation–that is, how many other
high-ranking officials will be killed following the execution of the MPAF
leader–makes the country feel like “a ticking time bomb,” the source explained. “Those who genuinely care about the country and express their opinions are
considered unfaithful and executed. Opportunists who pander to the dictatorship
on the other hand are promoted as loyal servants; Kim Jong Un is just like the leader from ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes,” he asserted.

“It is obvious how the authorities will put
a spin on the news of Hyon’s execution once it spreads nationwide. When Suh Kwan
Hee, the Party secretary in charge of agriculture, was executed for allegedly
working as a spy for the U.S. during the Korean War, people believed the
accusations. But no one believes things like that anymore,” he elaborated. “There is an adage that says that even ‘a worm will turn.’ Similarly, if this practice of cannibalistic politics continues, resistance may
overpower fear.”

Meanwhile, high-level officials at trade
companies under the MPAF are worried that the recent incident could deal a blow
to their business. When a high-ranking military cadre member is executed, it is
common for not only his family but those in extended circles, such as these anxious trading company officials, to be purged from their posts or exiled to remote, desolate areas of the country.

Questions or comments about this article? Contact us at dailynkenglish@uni-media.net.