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Sunday 21 September 2014

Was Kim Jong Un uncle's 'death by dogs' story satire lost in translation?

Published 06/01/2014 | 18:23

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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attends a ceremony of awarding party and state commendations to the exemplary officials, captains and fishermen in fisheries of the Korean People's Army (KPA) at the conference hall of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) in this undated photograph released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on December 27, 2013. REUTERS/KCNA (NORTH KOREA - Tags: POLITICS) ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS IMAGE. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un

The death of Kim Jong Un's uncle by '120 starving dogs' may have originated from a satirical Chinese website, it has been reported.

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Jang Song Thaek (67) was executed last month, although the manner of his execution is still unclear.

It was originally thought that he was killed by firing squad, a fate reserved for 'traitor's of the country, but reports soon began emerging that he met his end in a much more brutal fashion.

The original story of his brutal death has been tracked to satirical Chinese website Tencent Weibo, which was picked by a Hong Kong newspaper and subsequently spread like wildfire.

Wen Wei Po, a Hong Kong newspaper printed the first article, believed to stem from the original piece, whcih also featured a screen grab from the satirical website.

Meanwhile, Kim Jong Un has described his once-powerful uncle and mentor, whom he purged and executed, as "factionalist filth" in a new year message in which he  boasted of a surge of internal strength.

Kim's comments, including those focusing on one of the biggest political developments in Pyongyang in years, and certainly since the young leader took power two years ago, will be closely scrutinised by outside analysts and governments for clues about the reclusive communist country's intentions and policy goals.

North Korea's "resolute" action to "eliminate factionalist filth" within the ruling Workers' Party has bolstered the country's unity "by 100 times," Kim said in the speech broadcast by state TV.

Analysts are divided about what Jang Song Thaek's execution on treason charges means, but many believe it shows Kim Jong Un has yet to establish the same absolute power that his father and grandfather enjoyed. Jang was widely considered the country's number two power.

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