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Kim Jong-Un digitally erased an actor he doesn’t like from the re-run of a popular North Korean TV show

A side-by-side image of two stills from the same moment in North Korean TV drama “The Taehongdang Party Secretary.” On the left is Pak Jong Taek, who has replaced the actor shown on the right, Choe Ung Chol. The images are otherwise visually very similar.Left: Pak Jong Taek. Right: Original actor Choe Ung Chol.

KCTV

  • North Korea has wiped all record of an out-of-favor actor from a popular TV show, per NK News.
  • The actor is rumored to have links to Jang Song Taek, who Kim Jong-Un had executed.
  • The actor was digitally replaced with another actor in the re-run of the series, per the outlet.

North Korea has meticulously erased all traces of an actor from re-runs of a popular TV show, amid rumors that he has fallen out of favor with Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Un, according to NK News

Choe Ung Chol, an actor known for his good looks, has been digitally replaced with actor Pak Jong Taek in the show “The Taehongdang Party Secretary.” 

The series was otherwise completely unchanged, per Prof. Tatiana Gabroussenko, a North Korea specialist writing for the outlet. 

Choe may have fallen out out of favor with the regime due to his playboy lifestyle, as well as potentially over ties with Jang Song Taek, an uncle of Kim Jong Un’s who was infamously executed in 2013, per Gabroussenko.

Various rumors suggest that Choe was sexually involved with either Jang’s niece or daughter, and may have had a child with one of them, Gabroussenko wrote.

She emphasized that “there is no way to know for sure” about the rumors. North Korea’s closed society and strictly state-controlled media means reliable information is extremely hard to come by, with outsiders often dependent on the accounts of defectors. 

Jang, once considered the most powerful person in North Korea beyond Kim himself, was denounced as “despicable human scum.”

Jang was accused of several crimes, but state media also noted that he didn’t applaud Kim enthusiastically enough, as NPR reported

A widely-shared account of his execution said that Kim had arranged for him to be torn apart by 120 ravenous dogs, although this was subsequently found to be almost certainly not true

However, we do know that Jang was also airbrushed out of visual documentation, as Reuters reported at the time

Jang Song ThaekA before-and-after image of Jang Song-Thaek’s erasure from North Korean state media.

KCNA via BBC

“The Taehongdang Party Secretary” was first shown in 1997 and interweaves several stories set in the famine of the 1990s.

Choe played the son-in-law of a provincial official who is initially admired, but who balks at the prospect of leading a working group in freezing conditions. He is shamed into doing so by his wife, who forms an all-female group. 

The replacement of Choe with Pak is flawlessly done, Gabroussenko wrote.

Read the original article on Business Insider
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