While the concept of squeezing the state in one’s iron fist has been around for thousands of years, the fact that this harsh method of governing a nation is still implemented in the 21st century is rather alarming and disturbing. Notorious for his decisiveness, Kim Jong-un, the supreme leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, also known as North Korea, caused a big fuss in the news when he executed Jang Song-thaek, his uncle, his potential “regent” if he were ever forced to govern at the time when he was too young to do so independently, and the 2nd most influential person in the country. Jang Song-thaek was executed at the age of 67 for an alleged attempt to stage a military coup.

After Kim Jong-un executed his 67-year-old uncle, it seemed that tyranny could not get harsher in the “Democratic” People’s Republic. However, on January 26, South Korean Yonhap news agency reported that Jang Song-thaek’s entire kin was slain at the order of the ruthless leader. Adults and children alike, all biological relatives of Kim Jong-un’s uncle were reportedly dragged out of their apartments and executed in front of their neighbors, guilty of nothing but their relation to the alleged mutineer.

Yonhap maintains that Jang Song-thaek’s elder sister, Jang Ge Sun, her husband Jon Yong-jin (North Korean Ambassador to Cuba), Jang’s nephew Jang Yong-chol (North Korean Ambassador to Malaysia) and his two sons, Te Ren and Te Un, both around 20 years old, were recalled to Pyongyang in early December, just several days before Jang Song-thaek’s execution. They were all executed soon after him.

Since Jang Song-thaek’s two brothers faced their natural deaths before his arrest and execution, it was mostly the kin of Jang’s sisters that became subject to massive cleansing after his death. Even underage children and infant grandchildren of the former regent’s biological relatives could not escape death and were slain together with their older relatives. However, Yonhap also reports that Jang Song-thaek’s indirect relatives, or relatives by marriage, such as the spouse of Jang Yong-chol, were exiled with their families to the distant villages of the country instead of being put to death.

As for Kim Kyong-hui, Jang Song-thaek’s spouse and Kim Jong-un’s biological aunt, the media reports state that she is still in coma after a complicated brain surgery that she underwent to remove a brain tumor.

Merciless in the methods of asserting his powers and determined to hold on firmly to his authority, Kim Jong-un proved to be ready to kill anyone, even minor infants, in order to set a precedent that would discourage others from opposing the dictator’s will and to remove all possible contenders to his position of the national leader.