The number two man in North Korea, leader Kim Jong Un’s uncle Jang Song Thaek, has been executed, presumably on orders of his ungrateful nephew.
North Korea is a cesspool and somewhat of an information black hole. The charges against Jang were various, and ranged from serious to trivial (or at least what we would think of as trivial; no offense is trivial in North Korea). But the charges are not all that meaningful, although the act is. There’s more:
Jang’s conviction was preceded by the reported executions last month of his two closest confidants. KCNA confirmed one ally’s purge Wednesday, calling Ri Ryong Ha a “flatterer” and stooge who with Jang was building an anti-Kim faction within the party.
The purge of Jang’s accused comrades will continue, state media said.
You bet they will.
Stalin used to do this sort of thing periodically, or perhaps even continually. Out with the old, in with the new—for a while, until it’s their turn to go. It also reminds me of many much earlier rulers such as Henry VIII, whose executions of two of his six wives have fascinated the general public so much (to this very day) that they have somewhat obscured the fact that he also executed quite a few of his advisors, for example Thomas Cromwell and Thomas More.
Not that I’m saying that Jang has much in common with those two, except that his fall illustrates the fact that getting too close to a mega-powerful ruler can ultimately be fatal.