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Video does not show funeral of North Korea leader Kim Jong Un

April 26, 2020 GMT

CLAIM: Video shows mourners gathering in North Korea at the funeral of the country’s leader, Kim Jong Un. 

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. The video shows the funeral of his father and former North Korea leader Kim Jong Il, taken in December 2011. 

THE FACTS: As global news reports have speculated about the health and weekslong absence of Kim Jong Un, Facebook posts falsely circulated old video footage from his father’s funeral years ago to claim that North Korea’s leader is dead. 

A video posted to Facebook Sunday with The Associated Press logo shows mourners, crying and screaming, as a casket draped with red linen atop a hearse drives by them in the snow-covered streets. 

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“Live North Korea Dictator Kim Jong UN Funeral,” the inaccurate Facebook post claims. The video was blurred so it was more difficult to tell Kim Jong Il’s image was being carried along with the funeral procession. The video was viewed thousands of times, hours after being posted, with the false caption. 

The video was captured during Kim Jong Il’s funeral in December 2011 by the AP. Other videos circulating that claim to show Kim Jong Un is dead use old footage from his father’s body lying in a memorial palace in the capital Pyongyang.

The death of Kim Jong Il on Dec. 17, 2011, thrust his son, Kim Jong Un, into power when he was still in his late 20s and a virtual unknown figure outside of the country.

A growing number of unconfirmed rumors and media reports have emerged about Kim Jong Un’s health since he missed the April 15 commemoration of the 108th birthday of his grandfather, North Korea founder Kim Il Sung.

Kim Jong Un is the third generation of his family to rule North Korea, and he hadn’t missed the prominent April 15 event since assuming power after his father Kim Jong Il’s death in late 2011.

Kim Jong Un’s health is of crucial importance because of worries that the serious illness or death of a leader venerated with near godlike passion by millions of North Koreans could cause instability in the impoverished, nuclear-armed country, although many experts in South Korea downplayed speculation that Kim is seriously ill.

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This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.

Here’s more information on Facebook’s fact-checking program: https://www.facebook.com/help/1952307158131536