North Sees Mixed Response to Execution

News of Jang Sung Taek’s execution has been met with mixed responses from ordinary North Koreans, one of Daily NK’s sources has revealed. 

The source, located in North Korea’s Yangkang Province, told
Daily NK on the 13th that, “Word of the execution is spreading rapidly
throughout the country. Most people are openly critical of Jang, saying, ‘He
got the punishment he deserved,’ and, ‘How could he be so traitorous after
receiving the love of the General (Kim Jong Il)?’”

However, she went on, “Their eyes and way of speaking seem
to tell you that they don’t really believe what they are saying.”

On the other hand, “Older people in their 50s and 60s think ‘his wife (Kim Kyong Hui) surely would have fainted after hearing the
news [of the execution].’ Some people think they went too far with the arrest
and execution, saying that ‘no matter what he did, he was the aunt’s husband;
did they really have to arrest him in front of everyone?’”

The source reported that there is criticism too of Kim Kyong
Hui’s perceived indifference to the execution of her husband. “It came to this;
surely his aunt will not re-enter politics now.” 

“She was a woman who eliminated her husband, how can she
show her face now? The authorities would not have gone as far as executing him
if she had stood her ground,” some have gone as far as to claim. 

“The Jang Sung Taek incident has made people uneasy, and
since it overlaps with the mourning period for the General [Kim Jong Il died on
December 17th, 2011, so commemorative events are expected to take
place next week] we all know that we must take the utmost care over what we
say,” the source continued. “But the news about Jang Sung Taek is also so shocking that people are
talking about it.”

Finally, “The auditors have been at Hyesan Customs House since
last night, so trade has been suspended. This could be something to do with the
Jang purge, it’s unclear. An order also came down to workplaces, People’s
Units, and Women’s Union groups to get rid of the floating population, so the
trains are completely empty, too.”

Kang Mi Jin
Kang Mi Jin is a North Korean defector turned journalist who fled North Korea in 2009. She has a degree in economics and writes largely on marketization and economy-related issues for Daily NK. Questions about her articles can be directed to