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‘Zombie’ Kim and his impact on China


In the Korean TV series Kingdom, broadcast on Netflix, an evil pregnant queen hatches a daring plan to get her baby to the throne, replacing the actual heir. The king in fact has died before the delivery of her baby, who would rule only if born before the demise of the old man. So, the queen keeps the husband “alive” by turning him into a zombie.

To hold on the deception, only a few trusted aides have the privilege to see the zombie king, and everybody assumes he is still normal and going about his business, while the affairs of the state are firmly in the hands of the regent queen and her father, the high minister.

Yes, the queen and the high minister are cheating the court and the true heir. But there is something deeper at play. In this situation is the king, being a zombie, actually dead or alive? This is medieval Korea, after all, where the ruler is considered a god.

When the heir chops off the head of his progenitor, he feels remorseful even if the zombie king is just a flesh-eating monster. Court officials are less worried about this “killing.”

This tale could be a good explanation for the strange situation in present North Korea, where paramount leader Kim Jong Un, the third of his dynasty, disappeared for three weeks without explanation and then reappeared. Rumors suggested he might have been brain dead, held in a vegetative state, or perhaps it was just an elaborate ruse to generate global publicity.

On May 1, the official North Korean news agency published photos and videos of a smiling Kim looking stouter than ever as he presided over the opening of a new factory. Surrounding him were a couple of dignitaries and his 32-year-old sister Kim Yo Jong.

This picture released from North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on May 2, 2020, is described as showing North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attending a May 1 ceremony to mark the completion of Sunchon phosphatic fertilizer factory in South Pyongan Province, North Korea.

Was his rumored death just a trick to draw attention to Kim while the world was distracted by the global virus? It’s hard to tell. North Korea is so secretive that there is no way of uncovering the truth.

Kim’s reappearance could be a hoax to cover up a long-term illness, or to give more time for a bitter power struggle being fought around his death bed. After all, the photo could have been taken any time.


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