Disillusioned by meeting Kim Jong Il

“Until the day I met Kim Jung Il,” North Korean defector Jang Jin-Sung says, “I truly considered him divine, as someone more holy, like a sage – someone to be revered, someone who was better than us, who was sacrificing his own life for the people.”

Jang, a poet, caught the dictator’s eye, and was invited for a private audience with him.

Unti then, so effective was the regime propaganda machine, Jang told CNN’s Christine Amanpour, that he did not even believe that Kim the elder used the toilet.  “The man I saw standing in front of me was a man, he was a human being. He was not a holy man; he was not a saint; he was not a god. He was a man just like me, who did use the toilet.”

In propaganda, Kim had used “perfectly composed, flowery language,” Jang said, and was deeply reverential of the people. “But when I met him, he just spoke in slang like in a kind of commanding colloquial, working-class slang, even to his most senior men. …. And that was shocking to me.”

From that highest perch of North Korean society, Jang could clearly see for the first time all the lies he had been told. The truth became even starker when he went back to visit his hometown of Sairwon, in the southwest of the country.  “That was when I really witnessed the devastating effects of the famine. That’s where I saw the corpses in the station area just piling up and being taken away.”

As many as 3.5 million people are estimated to have died during North Korea’s severe famine of the 1990s, according to the South Korean NGO Good Friends. (Official North Korean numbers estimate that 220,000 people died.)

Jang also witnessed a public execution [in his hometown]. “It’s considered a method of moral education … So that’s why these executions happen in public places, such as market squares, where people watch it. It becomes a theater.”

A decade ago Jang decided to flee the country. Not even his family knew he was planning to leave.

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Jang Song-taek executed because of his “sleazy past”

The Chosun Ilbo claims that Jang Song-taek, Kim Jong-un’s uncle, was executed chiefly for his role in overseeing a thinly-disguised prostitution ring.

This according to the Kim family’s former sushi chef, Kenji Fujimoto, who claimed Jang Song-taek was eliminated because of his role supplying young women for a “pleasure brigade” for former leader Kim Jong-il, because his son detested his father’s womanizing.

Fujimoto told the U.K.’s Daily Mail on Saturday that when Kim Jong-un returned to North Korea aged 18 from study abroad, he “found himself exposed to his father’s ‘pleasure brigade,’ ” groups of beautiful young women who sing, strip and perform massages or sexual favors.

Fujimoto added that Jong-un was shy with girls and “loathes having relationships with multiple women.”

A lineage of murderous North Korean purges

Purging and killing suspected rivals or officers with wavering loyalty has been a trait of the Kim family dynasty along with unusual means of execution, which have included death by close range mortars.

In 1995, soon after taking power from his father, Kim Jong-il ordered the “purge of the Sixth Army Corps,” in which more than 20 officers accused of attempting to stage a coup were killed, according to South Korean news sources.

Kim Jong-il’s greatest purge occurred in 2001, during the so-called “march to progress” in which 1 million people were killed.  Hundreds of senior officials were removed from office and, with their families, sent to reeducation camps, while dozens others were executed, according to Chosun Ilbo citing South Korean intelligence reports.

As late as 2010, Kim Jong-il had ordered the purge of 100 senior officials, killing dozens of them, the last great purge of his regime.

Kim Jong Un’s grandfather, Kim il-Sung, the founder of Communist North Korea, so tightly controlled news coming out of the country that there is “comparatively little independent information about the regime’s purges, executions, and concentration and forced labor camps,” according to University of Hawaii historian RJ Rummel. Rummel estimates, that as many as 3.5 million people could have been murdered by the country’s first supreme leader from 1948 to the early 1990s.

[ABC]