Andrei Dergalin. Sputnik International
One anonymous source reportedly said that it would’ve been unfathomable for people in North Korea to openly discuss the head of state’s health before, during the reign of Kim Jong-il or Kim Il-sung.
Authorities in North Korea have allegedly urged citizens not to discuss the health of Kim Jong-un as the latter exhibited an apparent loss of weight, Radio Free Asia reports citing its sources in the country.
According to the media outlet, the narrative that the authorities allegedly promote states that Kim – referred to as the Highest Dignity – is healthy, and that him losing weight was due to him “suffering alongside his people, who are struggling with chronic food insecurity made worse by the effects of a prolonged coronavirus pandemic”.
“As stories of health problems related to the Highest Dignity’s weight loss spread among the residents, many of the neighbourhood watch units here in Chongjin made official statements to the people at their weekly meeting, saying that it is a ‘reactionary act’ to talk about the leader’s health,” one anonymous source, identified by RFA only as “a resident of the northeastern port city”, said.
The source also claimed that the neighbourhood watch units said Kim’s sudden weight loss “is not due to a health problem, but rather that he is suffering in solitude for the sake of the country and people in crisis”.
“This is the first time that authorities have felt the need to officially explain through neighbourhood watch units in every region that the Highest Dignity has no health problems,” the source added. “But on the other hand, some of the residents agreed, saying that Kim’s weight loss would not be a bad thing, as the way he appeared before he lost weight seemed to be more dangerous to his health.”
Another anonymous source, who claimed that neighbourhood watch unites in the city of Sariwon in North Hwanghae province also warned the populace not to gossip about Kim’s health, also said that it would’ve been unfathomable for people to openly discuss the health of the head of state during the reigns of Kim Jong-un’s father or grandfather, Kim Jong-il and Kim Il-sung.
“In some cases back then, the person who talked about the leader’s health problems was taken away along with his family to a political prison. But these days, everyone is aware of the Highest Dignity’s weight loss, so authorities are doing their best to keep people’s mouths shut,” the media outlet quotes the source as saying. “But there will be limits to completely blocking public opinion.”