The Chinese micro-blogging service Weibo has exploded with rumors that new North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un was assassinated today at the North Korean embassy in Beijing. Twitter death rumors are totally cross-cultural.
Here’s one version of the rumor, cleaned up from the crappy Google translation:
According to reliable sources, North Korean leader [Kim Jong-Un was killed] in Beijing in February 10 2012, at 2 o’clock and 45 minutes. Unknown persons broke into his residence shot and were subsequently shot and killed by the bodyguard.
Official Internet Rule: Any (Chinese) Twitter post that begins with “according to reliable source” is almost certainly fake. But this hasn’t stopped Chinese netizens from speculating that the killing was a military coup, and posting blurry pictures purporting to show an unusual number of vehicles parked at the North Korean embassy. ChinaSMACK staff writer Joe Xu suggests reports of large number of cars at the embassy may have sparked the rumor. “Rumors like this pop up every other week,” he writes on Twitter.
No word yet whether that rumor is true. Most people don’t think it is…
It’s very unlikely that the reports are remotely accurate. Death rumors are not uncommon on sites like Wiebo, and celebrities are often the victims. Most recently, a rumor spread around Twitter that Cuba’s Fidel Casto had died, which sent the Cuban government into a tirade against Twitter as well.
The story of Kim’s deaths varies slightly depending on the Weibo user. Some say he was killed in a military coup and cite a photograph of a crowded parking lot at Beijing’s North Korean embassy as proof. Others say he was killed at his home.
Last month, The Korea Herald reported that Kim Jong-un was on the other end of an assassination rumor, and had been plotting to murder his older brother, Kim Jong-nam, but was thwarted by Chinese officials.
Speaking of Kim Jong Nam, if that assassination rumor was true this might have been a motive for it…
Former North Korean leader’s eldest son has said the new regime will ‘not last long’ under the rule of his half brother.
Kim Jong Nam described the succession of power to Kim Jong Un as ‘a joke to the outside world’ in an email published yesterday by South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo newspaper.
And he said his half brother would be ‘just a nominal figure’, adding: ‘The members of the power elite will be the ones in actual power.’
Either way, it doesn’t matter. North Korea is bound to collapse soon regardless of which communist dictator is in charge.