The execution of Jang Song Thaek, the No. 2 man in North Korea, took Beijing by surprise and will adversely affect bilateral relations.
Beijing's displeasure is expressed through the publication of a detailed account of Jang's brutal execution in Wen Wei Po, its official mouthpiece, in Hong Kong, on Dec 12.
According to the report, unlike previous executions of political prisoners which were carried out by firing squads with machine guns, Jang was stripped naked and thrown into a cage, along with his five closest aides. Then 120 hounds, starved for three days, were allowed to prey on them until they were completely eaten up. This is called "quan jue", or execution by dogs.
The report said the entire process lasted for an hour, with Mr Kim Jong Un, the supreme leader in North Korea, supervising it along with 300 senior officials.
So did it actually happen? Who knows? In a country where dogs are routinely eaten, however, it's news when there is turn around, even if it's not fair play. As for Jang Song Thaek, pardon me if I do not weep. The entire North Korean oligarchy should be eaten by dogs, such are their crimes against their own people. The New York Times reports the latest killings within the ruling oligarchy are fallout from a machine-gun battle over who would control a patch of fishing grounds which is one of the few sources of money left in the country.