Executions tended to be gruesome affairs in the past, but possibly not as bad the that of the North Korean uncle who was executed for treason last month. The uncle of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was fed to the dogs as punishment for his traitorous ways, according to a Chinese newspaper.
There have been no confirmations from the media in North Korea as of yet, but a Beijing-run paper is reporting the execution was more brutal than many could have imagined. Jang Song Thaek and five others who were convicted of the same crimes were literally fed to the dogs.
120 dogs had been starved for three days prior to the brutal punishment. The men were no drugged or knocked out before their execution, which lasted for around an hour. It was a clear message from the North Korean leader that nothing mattered when it came to treason; not even family. Jong-un made it clear that nobody should mess with him and push the boundaries of the law.
Most political opponents are usually executed by firing squad. It is a relatively quick method, especially when compared to this alleged brutal treatment. The Chinese paper, Wen Wei Po, also reported how the North Korean leader and 300 senior officials watched as the whole events took place, until the bodies of the six men were eaten up.
The Global Times, a paper for the Communist Party, reported how the execution was a sign that the country was going backwards. After the reports that North Korean leader Jong-un fed his traitorous uncle to dogs, the paper is calling for Beijing to “distance itself” from the dictator-led country. It is clear that Beijing is upset by the choice of method of execution, and the fact that Thaek was executed at all. Thaek was on extremely good terms with people in Beijing due to some of the actions he was accused of.
Thaek was accused of treason in December. Within days, he was found guilty and sentenced to death. Part of the accusations involved plotting against his nephew to overthrow the leadership. Thaek was Jong-un’s second in command and a mentor to Jong-un during the earlier months of his leadership in 2011.
Reports of the method of execution differ depending on the country. According to South Korea, the uncle of the leader was executed by machine gun fire, similar to two of his aides before him. North Korea are yet to confirm the method of execution, or that Jong-un watched as it happened. There is no consistent editorial line across the Chinese media, either, which makes it different to ascertain whether the Beijing report is true.
A senior research fellow at Leeds University, Aidan Foster-Carter, who specializes in Modern Korea, explained that it was brutal even for the North Korean state. However, Foster-Carter would not rule it out after the effigy of the president of South Korean was mauled by dogs. The North Korean regime is extremely cruel. There are concerns that if Jong-un’s uncle was fed to the dogs when executed for treason, the state is taking steps backwards.
By Alexandria Ingham