A Daily NK source has revealed that municipal and provincial Chosun Workers’ Party secretaries and cadres from judicial and security organs have been summoned en masse to Pyongyang. Regional heavyweight officials are being kept in the dark about the details of Jang Sung Taek’s elimination in distant Pyongyang, but rumor inside North Korea already is that the staff recall is designed to weed out elements loyal to “the aunt’s husband” and instill fear throughout society.
The source from North Hamkyung Province told Daily NK on the 6th, “Recently, workers with city and province departments of administration, along with branch heads of the Ministry of Public Security and National Security Agency, have all been called to Pyongyang on suspicion of illegality.” He added that people are “growing anxious because they don’t know what’s happening.”
“According to what the Upper (North Korean authorities) is saying, they have called people in for ‘drugs and watching illegal videos,’ but absolutely nobody actually believes that,” the source went on. “There is talk about there being a personal problem with the ‘aunt’s husband’ (Jang Sung Taek), that some of his close associates have been executed, and that his traitorous accomplices are now being rounded up.”
“Everybody uses Ice (methamphetamines) or views content illegally on CD, so it doesn’t make any sense that important cadres have suddenly been recalled to Pyongyang for that,” he continued. “They say that there is this crackdown on his people in all regions because those people could be a threat to the system.”
According to the source, the specific details of Jang’s downfall are not known inside North Korea. However, the rumor that his close confidantes Ri Yong Ha and Jang Su Kil were executed for “anti-Party activities” is on everyone’s lips.
“People are sensitive to information coming in from domestic and foreign sources, so they don’t believe state propaganda at all,” he explained. “The Upper knows this and hopes that the large-scale recall of cadres will force people to recognize that ‘even cadres get executed if they go against the party.’”
Therefore, it is not only cadres who face serious repression going forward. The recall of cadres to Pyongyang is seen as just the opening salvo in a period of extreme repression of a sort common to autocratic regimes during instability under a new leader.
“To be honest, plenty of people have been expecting this from the time it became known that the ‘aunt’s husband’ was a guardian (of Kim Jong Eun) and a powerful man,” the source mused. “There are many people connected to the ‘aunt’s husband’ in Party and security organs, so the recalls will go on for the time being, then in about two months or so a ‘judgment’ will be released where the supposed cause of all this will be made known.”