However, Kim Il Sung and his followers were informed of the moves being made by the factions aligned against Kim through the Deputy Prime Minister, Choi Yong Gun. Kim Il Sung rushed back to Pyongyang, postponed the General Assembly of the Party, which was supposed to be held on August 2 and tried negotiate the delicate political situation that had arisen in his absence.
Eventually, Kim Il Sung called the assembly. Two agendas were proposed, the first was the report on the delegation’s visit to Eastern Europe, led by Kim Il Sung, and the second agenda was focused on reform of the People’s health care system.
After the completion of Kim Il Sung’s report, Yoon Kong Heum stood up and began criticizing Kim Il Sung’s heavy industry-priority line, his cult of personality and other aspects of his leadership, which were not related to the meeting’s official agendas.
In response, Kim Il Sung’s supporters made Yoon suspend his comments. But, Seo Hwee, Choi Chang Ik and others stood up, openly supporting Yoon’s position. However, Director of the Guidance Department Kim Geum Cheol, Vice-director of the Propaganda and Agitation Department of the Central Committee of the Party, Kim Do Man and other of Kim Il Sung followers insisted that Yoon and his supporters’ attitude and moves were divisive sectarian actions.
When the odds were against them, the Soviet Faction kept silent, and only the Yanan Faction was publically recognized as an anti-Party and counter-revolutionary faction.
Subsequently, Yoon Kong Heum, Seo Hwee and Lee Pil Gyu were dismissed from the Party, Choi Chang Ik and Park Chang Ok were dismissed from their positions in the regime; and although the Soviet Faction did not openly stand against Kim in the meeting, they were also expelled because they had not reported to Kim about the scheme.
Yoon Kong Heum, Seo Hwee, Lee Pil Gyu and Kim Gang crossed the Yalu River and defected to China and those related to them privately or politically were all marked as co-conspirators in this Sectarian Event. Additionally, other political figures whom Kim Il Sung had conflicted with, and anyone who had been indirectly or passively involved in the scheme were dismissed from their positions.
Ahn Young Sun (pseudonym) was one of those dismissed. During the preparation for the “August Sectarian Event,” in 1956, he belonged to an armored unit attached to the Fourth Corps stationed on the outskirts of Pyongyang. After that event, he was treated as a co-conspirator in the scheme, and was sent to a rural area in Yangkang Province.
In mid-July, 1956, a political officer from the division came to the battalion command office, gathered all the soldiers and made a speech, explaining that a group of counter-revolutionaries attempted to sabotage and undermine the regime, and that they had to protect the fatherland. After the speech, he ordered them to rush into the Sunan Airport in order to apprehend the enemy, so the battalion made a dash for the airport, in tanks, led by the political officer.
However, when the tanks arrived at the airport, they could see only barricades and fixed artillery aiming at them. Vice-premier Park Geum Cheol approached them and ordered, “The revolt of enemies were impeded and the fatherland is not more at risk, so get back to the camp as soon as possible.”
That night, a numbers of soldiers surrounded the camp and ordered that the unit disarmed and surrender because the unit belonged to the counter-revolutionary faction.
In fact, on the day, Kim Il Sung and his delegation were supposed to arrive at the Sunan Airport after their visit to Eastern Europe. However, Kim Il Sung had diverted from Sunan to Sooncheon Airport after he receiving information on the maneuvers of the conspirators.
Countless soldiers who had merely followed the orders of their superiors, without any knowledge of the political situation were classified as conspirators in the Sectarian Event and were forced to work in construction fields in Pyongyang. Then after roughly one and half years, the unit was disbanded and the soldiers were sent down to rural areas. Ahn Young Sun said, “After the forced labor, I could not go to my hometown, Hamheung, South Hamkyung Province, but was sent to a mountainous town, Samsoo in Yangkang Province. Since then, my whole life had been always in a trap of a confederate of the August Sectarian Event. (to be continued)