It’s sweetness, light and fervent desires for peace and love all the way down.
According to a report from The Week First Post,
Initial reports suggested Jang Song-thaek, the No.2 man in North Korea, had been shot by a firing squad after being found guilty of treason. But an account in Wen Wei Po – China’s official mouthpiece – suggests the reality was even more disturbing.
According to the report, Jang was stripped naked and thrown into a cage, along with his five closest aides, the Straits Times reports. They were joined by 120 hounds who had been “starved for three days”, the paper says. The dogs were allowed to prey on the men until they were “completely eaten up”. [Emphasis added.]
The Straits Times says the gruesome process is called “quan jue”, or execution by dogs. Wen Wei Po says Jong-un and 300 officials attended the execution which lasted more than an hour. [Emphasis added.]
As well as shining new light on the brutality of Jong-un’s regime, the report reveals that Beijing “no longer cares about its relations with the Kim regime,” the Straits Times says. It is an impression enforced by a sternly-worded editorial in the Global Times – an organ associated with the Chinese Communist Party’s People’s Daily – that discussed the “backwardness” of North Korea’s political system.
The editorial warned the Chinese government not to “coddle North Korea any longer”, saying that the majority of Chinese are disgusted with the Kim regime.
A similar account of the execution appears in the UK Mail Online and multiple other sources. The linked Global Times article deals with Chinese reactions to the execution but does not mention the method used. It contends,
It is right for China to choose not to interfere in North Korea’s internal affairs, especially those concerning Pyongyang’s political power geometry. But as Chinese society has long been diversified, it is impossible for the Chinese government to unify social attitudes toward North Korea.
The majority of the public here holds a negative attitude toward the recent events in Pyongyang. This may impose some restrictions on Sino-North Korean ties. Chinese aid to North Korea may face more questioning, and grass-roots interaction may lose some momentum.
Wen Wei Po is the source mentioned in The Week First Post article linked and quoted above. According to Wikipedia,
Wen Wei Po is a Hong Kong-based Chinese language newspaper, first established in Shanghai in January 1938, with the Hong Kong version launched on 9 September 1948.
The publishing of Wen Wei Po aims at supporting New China, that is the People’s Republic of China and delivering the latest Mainland developments, especially over the last 20 years. A rare exception was in 1989 when the editorial board openly objected to the use of force in the 1989 Tiananmen Square Protests. As a consequence the editorial was replaced shortly thereafter.
The paper also covers and comments on Hong Kong news.
Wen Wei Po is an officially recognised newspaper for publishing legal advertisements under the direction of the government of Hong Kong.
According to Wikipedia,
The Straits Times is an English-language daily broadsheet newspaper based in Singapore currently owned by Singapore Press Holdings (SPH). It is the country’s highest-selling paper, with a current Sunday Times circulation of nearly 365,800.
I have no way to verify or contest these reports, which have also appeared in multiple other sources. Dennis Rodman has not been reached for comment.
North Korea is a black hole, which light enters but from which none escapes. In December of 2011 I compared North Korea to Jules Verne’s fictious center of the earth. There I wrote,
When I go to bed, I generally read novels until I doze off. Recently, I have been reading Jules Verne’s Journey to the Center of the Earth — a very strange place for which our experiences on the surface of the Earth would ill prepare us. In Verne’s fantasy world the Earth is hollow, with an inland sea and pleasant temperatures, is lit by electro-luminescence, has yummy stuff to eat and the remains as well as living examples of prehistoric critters can be found (or might find the traveler). As I dozed off, it occurred to me that we in the West are no more familiar with Korea, and particularly with North Korea, than we would be were we trying to understand and analyze goings on at Verne’s center of the Earth. We have never been to the center of the Earth, know very little about it and what we would encounter there would be very different from what we have experienced at home.
We probably recognize this. Yet we try to analyze what happens and is likely to happen in North Korea as though we knew as much as there is to know about it. We seem to look upon it as a small state in a mid western part of the United States. It is not. Korea has a far longer history than does the United States and is extraordinarily different culturally, historically and in just about every other important respect. It is said that FDR tried to deal with Joseph Stalin before and during WWII as though Stalin were a Senator from the Georgia in the United States. He obviously knew that Stalin was not, but nevertheless treated him in many respects as though he were. Give him the equivalent of a bridge, a road and other such goodies; then he will like us and do as we demand because that’s the way politics works in the United States.
Until we learn that people around the world are not necessarily the same as we are, don’t necessarily think in the same way and don’t necessarily appreciate the same things, we will continue to muck up foreign policy terribly. Our troops and those of our allies and enemies will continue to die unnecessarily, we will continue spend money that we don’t have and continue to be impoverished in the process. Are we stupid, or just mistakenly well-meaning?
Please take the accounts of the method of execution used with Jang Song-thaek for what, if anything, they are worth. They seem credible to me.
UPDATE: There’s another report of the execution at PJ Tatler.
UPDATE: Consistently with my view that it is impossible to verify or refute the articles about the method of Jang’s execution, Business Insider observes
It’s an incredible twist to the already incredible story of Jang, once one of the most powerful men in North Korea before he was purged and executed at the tail end of last year. But you have to wonder — could it possibly be true?
. . . .
The sad reality is that this rumor, like many that come out of North Korea, is almost completely unverifiable. Few foreign journalists work inside North Korea. The Associated Press is the only Western news organizations with a bureau there, and Chinese and Russian news agencies are constrained by their own government’s policies censorship. North Korea’s own reporting is incomplete and suspect. [Emphasis added.]
That may qualify as one of the more egregious understatements of the year.
Thus, many experts view the more absurd stories that come out of North Korea with trepidation. Last year, when there were rumors that Kim may have had his ex-girlfriend (or rather, rumored ex-girlfriend) executed, many North Korea watchers expressed disbelief. “I don’t trust these sources,” says Steven Herman, formerly Voice of America’s Korea correspondent, told Business Insider at the time. “Even mainstream media in South Korea has repeatedly been wrong on these sensationalistic stories originating from the North.”
Others pointed to the fact that the girlfriend execution story, and others like it (such as the execution of an army minister by “mortar round” story from earlier in 2013) appear to have originated from the South Korean intelligence services, an obviously biased and not always trustworthy source. [Emphasis added.]
Compared to what?
That said, it’d be wrong to discount this story completely. Many foreign observers expressed doubt when rumors of Jang’s purge and trial began to circulate and were surprised when the North Korean state news agency published a story not only confirming the purge and adding that Jang had been executed. There are also the widely accepted stories of the horrors from the North Korean prison camp system, some of which are just as horrific and brutal as the story of Jang’s execution. [Emphasis added.]
Ultimately, North Korea is a strange place — and sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.
Will North Korea credibly deny the execution of Jang and several of his allies by hungry dogs? With Kim Jong-un watching? With credible photos showning the execution? Probably not. Until then, I shall continue to give the execution by hungry dog scenario more credit for candor than many Obama Administration statements.