The Washington Post is reporting on North Korean official anger over rumors in China that Young General Kim Jong-un had had plastic surgery to make himself look more like his grandfather, Great Leader Kim Ilsung.
North Korea’s official news agency has taken the unusual step of publicly rebuking a rumor about young leader Kim Jong Eun, and has chastised China, its sponsor and only real ally, in the process. The vitriolic report insists that the 30-year-old Kim absolutely, positively did not receive plastic surgery to look more like his deceased grandfather, Kim Il Sung. Such rumors have been around for years, but just as rumors. So why condemn them now, at the risk of just lending them greater legitimacy?The WaPo goes on to point out the obvious: we have no particular reason to believe this anonymous official quoting another anonymous official. (North Korea's KCNA denounced the story with typical DPRK official shrillness that obscurely mentions the terrible rumor — "suspicion of operation" — that constituted South Korean and Chinese "rats making nonsensical remarks moving around ditch.")
Since taking control of the country, Kim Jong Eun has aggressively cultivated an image in his grandfather’s likeness. Kim Il Sung, considered North Korea’s national founder, is practically deified. His son and heir, Kim Jong Il, rarely appeared in public and never fully inherited his father’s cult of personality. Now, Kim Jong Eun seems to be doing everything he can to draw comparisons between himself and his beloved grandfather, which could help him considerably in consolidating and maintaining power.
The long-running rumors, that Kim Jong Eun’s resemblance to Kim Il Sung is more than just genetic, got a big boost from a mainland Chinese station called Shenzhen TV. The network, based in the country’s more liberal southeast, cited a “diplomatic source” who said he or she had traveled to Pyongyang recently, where a North Korean official had confirmed the rumor.
ROK Drop also tackled the rumors, with commenters expressing skepticism. It was there that I first pointed out that this sounds like much ado about nothing. Typically, this sounds like the m.o. of the Chinese press, which is to distract the populace from excesses, abuses, and failures of the Chinese Communist Party.
Simply put, Kim Jong-un looks a bit like his grandfather, but mostly because, well, he gets a quarter of his DNA from his grandfather (more if Kim Ilsung was boning Kim Jong-il’s mistress or wife; see cartoon above). It is natural and to be expected, and KJU doesn’t look unusually more like his grandfather than one would expect.
What really brings it home, though, is the haircut and perhaps the girth, neither of which requires plastic surgery. (Can you imagine, for a moment, the horror of being Kim Jong-un's plastic surgeon? One wrong move and it's you who loses their life.)
Chinese netizens, please focus less on the foibles of North Korea's supreme commander and pay more attention to your own leaders’ corruption. Acting like trailer trash reading the National Enquirer at the Piggly Wiggly is not very becoming.