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Story About Kim Jong-Un's Uncle Being Fed to Dogs Originated With Satirist

World  (tags: 'CIVILLIBERTIES!', 'HUMANRIGHTS!', conflict, corruption, crime, death, ethics, government, North Korea, politics, society, terrorism, violence )

- 1873 days ago -
Lurid story about Jang-Song-theak's death apparently first appeared in satirical post on Chinese social media network. Though he did have his Uncle executed.


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Kit B (276)
Monday January 6, 2014, 10:07 am
Jang Song-thaek was probably executed by firing squad - and not fed to a pack of starving dogs. Photograph: Ahn Young-Joon/AP

It sounded just believable enough to catch on: Kim Jong-Un executed his uncle Jang Song-thaek by having him stripped naked and fed to a pack of starving dogs.

Yet the story, which was first reported by a Hong Kong tabloid and then picked up in the western press, apparently originated with a satirical post on a Chinese social media network, turning a thinly-sourced horror story into an astonishing example of the media echo chamber gone awry.

Kim did, in fact, purge his uncle and former second-in-command last month in remarkably high-profile fashion the country's official news agency called Jang "an anti-party, counter-revolutionary factional element" and "despicable human scum" when it announced his execution on 13 December. Analysts said that he was probably killed by firing squad.

The starving dogs version first appeared on 12 December in Wen Wei Po, a Beijing-friendly Hong Kong tabloid with a reputation for sensationalism. About two weeks later it was re-reported in English by the Singaporean news daily Straits Times, which took the piece as a barometer of souring Sino-North Korean ties. Late last week scores of western publications jumped on board, including NBC News, the Daily Mail, the New York Daily News, and the London Evening Standard.

Yet as the US blogger Trevor Powell pointed out on Monday, the original report lifted the story nearly word-for-word from an 11 December social media post by Pyongyang Choi Seongho, a China-based satirist with millions of followers. The background of the personality's page on Tencent Weibo, China's second most-popular microblog, shows a cartoon Kim Jong-un standing on a balcony flanked by military aides, his arms raised and his middle fingers extended.

Choi's post includes all of the grisly details that made their way into the American press: Jang and five of his aides were stripped naked, thrown into a giant cage, and "entirely devoured" by 120 Manchurian hunting dogs that had been starved for three days. Kim conducted the hour-long spectacle himself before an audience of 300 North Korean officials, it added.

The media mixup comes amid former NBA superstar Dennis Rodman's continuing efforts to dispel the country's reputation for opacity and cruelty. Rodman arrived in the capital, Pyongyang, on Monday with a group of former NBA players including Vin Baker and Cliff Robinson the ensemble plans to play an official North Korean team on Wednesday, Kim Jong-un's birthday.

"It's about trying to connect two countries together in the world," Rodman, the most high-profile American known to have met Kim, told the Associated Press. "People say so many negative things about North Korea. And I want people in the world to see it's not that bad."

By: Jonathan Kaiman in Beijing | The Guardian |


Kit B (276)
Monday January 6, 2014, 10:11 am

Dennis Rodman is an idiot. When he is in North Korea is wined and dined, treated to the celebrity status he [Rodman] believes he deserves, and in turn spreads the message that "things are not that bad". How many homes of the people that are not approved by "little kim" does he visit, how many of the "reeducation camps" has Rodman seen?

Sheila D (194)
Monday January 6, 2014, 10:13 am
Doesn't it just make you trust the news much for research, especially in the Internet age.

JL A (281)
Monday January 6, 2014, 10:20 am
The state of journalism or the state of people's sense or humor? Or both?

Maria Cristina A (119)
Monday January 6, 2014, 10:48 am
That's censorship for you. And, I might add, a somewhat underdevelloped hability to read into chinese stories. Mind you, you don't have to be reading in a foreign language to not understand you're reading a humourous piece... We do see many times a humourous article being taken seriously - a recent example is about the supposed marijuana overdoses.

Angelika R (143)
Monday January 6, 2014, 2:12 pm
..which ever-a PISSPOOR state -to respond to Judi here. Thx Kit. I admit THIS screwed version in the media passed me by completely-tho i do recall Kim using the words "worse than a dog" when speaking of his uncle after the conviction. (extended satire : just think of what might people have felt who might have eaten THE DOGS afterwards- were that story true ;).. ) pardon my taste of humor/satire!)

Arielle S (313)
Monday January 6, 2014, 2:27 pm
Yes, Rodman is an idiot and Kim Jon-Un is ... um, scary.... Pssst. Pass it on!

. (0)
Monday January 6, 2014, 3:15 pm
If Dennis Rodman and all the rest of the useful idiots that went with him would care to emigrate there and not return; it would indeed be an improvement for America. No White Nights for you either idiot man.

Julia R (298)
Monday January 6, 2014, 3:25 pm
Unfortunately, this story shows the beltline press's laziness or lack of initiative to really get to the truth of a story (which can have dire consequences) as it did for the unjustified war in Iraq and it also shows the gullibility and egocentrism of Rodman who just because he's been treated so well over there, has no desire to really understand what is going on in terms of the general population in North Korea and how the majority of them are treated!

fly bird (26)
Monday January 6, 2014, 3:30 pm
Thanks for the post Kit, and all the comments!!

Bryna Pizzo (139)
Monday January 6, 2014, 4:57 pm
Thank you for the laughs. Your posts are good for our health. :)

Terry King (113)
Monday January 6, 2014, 6:56 pm
Rodman is a true visionary. :O)

Louise D (44)
Tuesday January 7, 2014, 5:43 am
Given that Kim Jong Un is have a purge at the moment, something all dictators do, Hitler for his uncontrollable flatulence, Stalin for his paranoia and Idi Amin when he was feeling peckish. A lot of the information is coming out of North Korea at best from third hand sources but Kim Jong Un is shown he is a nasty piece of work and killing his uncle is hardly the act of Filial piety given it is the act of getting more power. The Roman Emperor Caracalla all had his brother and co-emperor bumped off and ordered a damnatio memoriae on him. He died when he was taking a leak so epect Kim Jong Un to have a similar fate soon.

Regan Copple (16)
Tuesday January 7, 2014, 12:07 pm
I couldn't believe all the news sites I saw repeating this fabrication as fact. People are so willing to believe the worst about North Korea that they latched on to this without a shred of skepticism. I don't like the cult of personality that's been fostered there for the past 65 years, but people, come on. Exercise some of those brain cells.

mar l ene dinkins (264)
Friday January 10, 2014, 3:44 pm
nod terrible !!!!! ty
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