North Korea’s Kim Jong Un Faces A Rebellion? Slaves, Purges, Nuclear Threats Define Five Years Of Rule

Friday marked five years since Kim Jong Un succeeded his father as North Korea’s ruler, but reports say the young leader’s grip on the reclusive, authoritarian nation could be endangered.

Kim officially rose to power in 2011, two weeks after his father Kim Jong Il died, making him the third member of the Kim family to hold the position since the nation was founded in 1948 by Kim’s grandfather, Kim Il Sung. All three members of the Kim dynasty have been criticized by foreign governments and human rights organizations for alleged human rights abuses including the restriction of any political dissent, the use of forced labor camps and arbitrary imprisonment and executions. 

While the majority of the state’s punishments have reportedly been directed against civilians, the 32-year-old ruler is believed to have waged war on his own government. Kim may have executed hundreds of officials, many of them belonging to the older, military elite including former Defense Chief Hyon Yong Chol and Kim’s uncle, Jang Song Thaek. Defectors say even those within Kim’s government live as “slaves.” Some say these purges have alienated Kim from the upper echelons of the government while others assert Kim is simply consolidating his power.

Citizens reportedly have come to view Kim’s style as harsh even by North Korean standards with some sources

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