BEIJING — The news that North Korea’s “Dear Leader” Kim Jong Il had died made its way to the Chinese capital mid-Monday morning. Very soon, police tape surrounded the North Korean embassy, where its national flag was lowered to half-staff.
State-run newspapers The China Daily and The Global Times posted the news on their websites -- the latter going with a special section dedicated to the eccentric leader of China’s tiny but troublesome northeastern neighbor.
Featuring comments by users of Weibo (the Chinese microblog) and a Kim family tree, the Global Times site was worthy of a Chinese state leader, reflecting the closeness of the two regimes enduring more than half a century.
The Chinese state-run television CCTV broke into regular programming, about twenty minutes before its daily noontime news broadcast, to run a special report on Kim’s death. Its Pyongyang news team was the first to get reaction within the isolated state out to the world. The nine-minute clip shows a variety of North Korean citizens crying, almost all unable to speak to the camera.
Despite running his country like a cult, impoverishing and starving his own people while building a nuclear arsenal, Kim was more often than not ridiculed for his appearance and his personality. Twitter users posted memorable moments such as an Economist magazine cover with Kim with bouffant hair in tinted glasses:Greetings, Earthlings.
We, on the other hand, would like to remember the Dear Leader in action. After all, the DPRK’s Korean Central News Agency said Kim died while travelling back from a “rural inspection tour.” What better way to mark his passing away than with a look back at other inspection tours, thanks to this great Tumblr site.
Updated at 6:41 a.m. ET:
Like father, like son.
Within hours of news of the elder Kim’s death, the Tumblr page above spawned a junior: Kim Jong Un looking at things.