North Koreans Banned From Discussing Kim Jong Un’s Weight Loss
North Korea has warned citizens to refrain from talking about Kim Jong Un’s weight loss, and said that gossip is a ‘reactionary act’.
Government authorities have insisted the national leader is eating less “for the sake of the country” as it grapples with severe food shortages and claimed Kim is healthy.
Speculation about Kim’s health started after photos showed the despot looking increasingly thin after he apparently shed up to 44 pounds earlier this year.
But efforts to stifle gossip about Kim’s weight have failed, according to Radio Free Asia (RFA).
Sources said neighbourhood watch units had made official statements warning people discussions about Kim’s health were banned.
“The neighbourhood watch unit also said the sudden weight loss is not due to a health problem, but rather that he is suffering in solitude for the sake of the country and people in crisis”, the anonymous source said.
It is reportedly the first time officials in North Korea have addressed speculation around Kim’s weight loss or heath as it is usually considered a taboo topic.
But some residents told RFA they were pleased to see their leader slim down “as the way he appeared before he lost weight seemed to be more dangerous to his health”.
Another source said North Koreans were pleased at Kim’s weight loss because he was so large ‘it had become difficult for him to walk’.
Some observers say Kim – who is about 5ft8in tall and has previously weighed 308 pounds may have lost between 22 and 44 pounds.
The despot was last month shown waving to a crowd of enthusiastic military officers and seemed to have lost weight around his waist and face with his trademark Mao suit appearing slightly baggy.
Images from the first workshop of the commanders and political officers of the Korean People’s Army show held in July showed Kim with a noticeably slimmer face.