The saga of Ri Sol-ju, Kim Jong-un's wife and the current subject of unsavoury rumours about her past life, continues. She was once, to recap, a member of the Unhasu Orchestra. A fellow member of the orchestra, Hyon Song-wol - supposedly an ex-mistress of Kim Jong-un - was executed by firing squad last month, along with a number of other musicians, for violating North Korean laws on pornography: more specifically, for videotaping themselves having sex and then selling the videos.
When news of this was published in South Korea, the North reacted with fury - "both an intolerably outrageous provocation and an unpardonable criminal act". And they began a series of intensive internal investigations into the source of the leak.
It's in the nature of things North Korean that the way for a woman to make it in showbiz is to sleep around: to "ingratiate herself with the cadres". So - the rumours no doubt go - why should Ri Sol-ju be any different? Which is hardly an appropriate way to talk about the wife of a leader whose rule requires that he be idolised as a "peerlessly great man".
Following the spread of a scandal involving Kim Jong Eun’s wife, Ri Sol Ju, the authorities have moved to clampdown on the situation, using public lectures to instruct citizens: “Do not try to find out about Marshal Kim and his wife, comrade Ri Sol Ju, and if you hear anything, pretend that you did not.”
The news was reported by an inside source from Shinuiju in North Pyongan Province on the 30th.
“At a regular meeting of the Womens’ Union (Chosun Union of Democratic Women), it was made clear that ‘We will hold strong ideological struggle meetings to address the current phenomenon of spreading and wanting to learn of this baseless rumor,’” the source revealed.
“They threatened us at the lecture, saying: ‘Don’t try to learn more about the issue with the Marshal (Kim Jong Eun) and his wife, comrade Ri Sol Ju,'" the lecturer reportedly noted. "'Those who try to learn the details of this wild rumor or even go as far as to spread it around will be severely punished.’”
Not, perhaps, the smartest move.
However, the source went on to recall that, as a result, “People actually became suspicious as to why a mere rumor about Kim Jong Eun and his wife would need to be controlled.”
According to the source, people are careful not to talk about the issue in public, but it is widely suspected that “there is something [about Kim Jong Eun and Ri Sol Ju] that they don’t want us to know.” Of course: “Telling us not to know or find out only makes us more curious.”
Kim Jong-il, the late departed Dear Leader, may, and very likely did, have all sorts of unsavoury liaisons with women with "colourful pasts", but he was too smart ever to get in a position where "strong ideological struggle meetings" were called in order to stop people talking about them.
Meanwhile there's the intriguing possibility that someone, somewhere, has a video of Marshal Kim Jong-un's beloved wife enjoying intimate relations with someone other than Marshal Kim Jong-un. Now that could get interesting...