"What is surprising is the dramatic and public nature of the purge. It's different from what has happened in the past," according to Daniel Pinkston, deputy project director for Northeast Asia at the International Crisis Group. "It might be a representation of Kim Jong-un's personal nature."
The most important significance of Jang's downfall is that it signals the beginning of a generation change of power. "Kim is young. He has a long way to go and this was an inevitable step to consolidate power around him with young and fresh generals," said Koh You-hwan, professor of North Korean studies at Dongguk University in Seoul.
North Korean state media has been rallying up "eternal loyalty" to its "great leader Kim Jong-un" on a daily basis this week. Four pages were devoted on Rodong Shimbun detailing public reaction to Jang's downfall.
"How dare someone like Jang tries to cover up the mighty sun!" said a director of a North Korean science research center. Other statements on the daily state newspaper included "I want to grab Jang by the neck and shove him down a boiling pot", "Jang is worse than an animal, full of immorality, and ungratefulness."
The South Korean media have also been reporting that a high-level North Korean official close to Jang had fled to China carrying confidential documents on North Korea's nuclear program and Kim Jong-un's private financial assets. Citing unidentified sources from North Korea, SBS TV, one of three main terrestrial channels in South Korea, claimed that the dissident is currently under custody of the South Korean government.
Jiyoung Sohn contributed to this report