Ryanggang official executed following low-level Party conference

Kim Chae Hwan; Kim Seong Hwan  |  2017-01-12 16:26
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Several internal sources in North Korea have reported that the head of Ryanggang Provinces Workers' Organizations was accused of "damaging the Highest Dignity's (Kim Jong Un) authority" during the first Conference of the Chairpersons of the Workers' Party Primary Committees held at the end of last year, and was eventually executed. The individual was reportedly dragged before the audience and forced to crawl, under Kim Jong Un's direct orders. 

A source in Ryanggang Province reported to Daily NK on January 9 that on the final day of the conference (December 25), the head of Ryanggang Provinces Workers Organizations was bound by rope and dragged, before being forced to crawl across the Pyongyang Gymnasium on his knees in front of the watching crowd.

"Kim Jong Un proclaimed that this person is not entitled to be buried in this land.' Afterward, the head of the Workers' Organization was taken to another location and is said to have been executed by firing squad," the source added.

The position of head of provincial workers' organizations is not normally sufficient to receive an invitation to the Chairpersons of the Party's Primary Committees conference. It can therefore be presumed that the official was arrested beforehand and had been deliberately put on 'display' at the closing ceremony of the conference. The incident appears to have been  intended to foster a sense of fear among the individuals in charge of the Party's low-level organs.

The reason for the arrest, a separate source in Ryanggang Province said, was related to Kim Jong Un's inspection visit to Ryanggang Province at the end of last November. Kim Jong Un conducted onsite inspections at a number of locations, including Samjiyon Schoolchildren's Palace. During those inspections, the Korean Workers Party Organization and Guidance Department (OGD) informed Kim Jong Un about the official in question. 

He added that Kim Jong Un praised a child for his singing ability when visiting the extracurricular facility. However, the head of the workers organizations subsequently visited the school and reportedly told the child, "You were not praised because you sing well. Your singing was terrible, but the merciful Marshal (Kim Jong Un) praised you out of love for the people."

The official may have thought that he was promoting 'Kim Jong Un's love for the people and displaying due loyalty, but the child's parents and the provincial branch of the OGD saw the situation much differently.

"The child's parents were offended. They said, 'Why would he castigate our child when the Marshal praised him for singing well? The Ryanggang Province OGD and State Security Department (SSD) were alerted and reported it as a No.1 report [meaning that it involved Kim Jong Un], he explained.

"It could have been the case that the SSD, in desperate need of racking up achievements, lodged a distorted report about the officials remarks. But the main cause of the punishment lies in the perceived damaging remarks about the Highest Dignity, regardless of his intended meaning. 

In regard to this, one senior ranking North Korean defector noted, "The incident must have been brought about by the State Security Departments distorted report and the excessive behavior of the head of the Provincial Workers Organizations.

The head of the Provincial Workers' Organization is in charge of managing exterior institutions including the Provincial General Federation of Korean Trade Unions, the Korean Democratic Women's Union, and the Kim Il Sung Socialist Youth League, as well as kindergartens and nurseries. The official's visit to Samjiyon Schoolchildren's Palace was part of his official duty, but his 'slip of the tongue' during the visit led to his execution.

If Kim Jong Un had sought more facts, he would have realized that the official made those remarks out of loyalty rather than reactionary sentiment but he did not, which an additional source said underscores the nature of the fearpolitik landscape in Kim Jong Uns North Korea, eradicating threats, real or perceived, and silencing those who remain.

"The audience was terrified as the scene unfolded in front of them at the closing ceremony of the conference, afraid to utter anything out of fear that they would be next," the source, who was present at the conferences closing ceremony, said.

"The incident again emphasized that Kim Jong Un will not forgive those who tarnish his authority. The regime emphasizes that Party officials must make it their duty to promote the Marshal's greatness among their units and lead the people in upholding the name of the Suryong (Supreme Leader)."

*Translated by Yejie Kim
*Edited by Lee Farrand

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