A South Korean newspaper has reported that the North Korean regime of Kim Jong-un will execute 200 high-ranking government officials believed to be loyal to Jang Song-thaek, Kim's once-powerful uncle who was shockingly deposed and executed last December.
The Chosun Ilbo reported the pending executions Tuesday, citing a source who said that North Korea's State Security Department had conducted a sweep to root out Jang's remaining supporters in the government. Under Pyongyang's brutal "guilty blood" system of criminal sentencing, the Chosun Ilbo's source told the paper that up to 1,000 more people, all family members of the condemned, could be sent to North Korea's infamous prison camps.
The paper reported that those condemned to be executed would be given their death sentences following closed-door trials that have been authorized by North Korea's highest court, the better to give the appearance that proper procedure has been followed.
The executions would reportedly be witnessed by "high-ranking [Communist] party, government, and military officials," and are designed to set an example to all who do not show full devotion to Kim's regime, which is in its third year.
Jang Song-thaek, Kim Jong-un's uncle by marriage, held several top positions in North Korea's government. Among those positions was vice-chairman of the National Defense Commission, considered second in importance only to the dictator himself. Last December, Jang was stripped of his titles, expelled from the Workers' Party, put on trial, and executed for alleged "counterrevolutionary" activities, including plotting Kim Jong-un's overthrow.