BREAKING: China-Backed Satellite TV Network Reporting that Kim Jong-un Is Dead | News and Politics

A female vice-director of HKSTV Hong Kong Satellite Television, a Beijing-backed broadcast network in Hong Kong, claims that Kim Jong-un is dead, citing a “very solid source.” TMZ reports the woman is a niece of the Chinese foreign minister.

HKSTV is not owned by the Chinese government, nor is it an official media outlet of the government. But it allowed the Hong Kong-based network to broadcast its programming into mainland China.

The report is not on the HKTV website. It appeared on the Chinese messaging app Weibo. There is a viral image that includes a picture of Kim supposedly lying in a glass coffin, but that appears to be a faked image from 2017.

There are other unconfirmed reports that Kim's heart surgery was so botched that he slipped into a coma and is now in a vegetative state.

The outlet reports -- citing a Chinese medical expert privy to the situation -- that Kim had clutched his chest in early April and fell down while visiting the countryside there. He needed a stent procedure done, but apparently ... it either wasn't done rapidly enough, or it was botched completely by the surgeon -- with some reports saying he had shaky hands.

There's a lot of rumors swirling about the guy's condition -- and the fact is ... he hasn't made any major public appearances looking to be okay in several weeks now. About a week or so ago, CNN reported Kim was in "grave danger" after a medical procedure.

How good is this rumor? The fact that the woman's own network isn't reporting the story says something. And you would expect some outward manifestation -- a change in NoKo's military readiness perhaps -- if the rumor were true. When a Soviet leader died, they played funeral dirges on the radio all day before the announcement.

Enough media outlets around the world are running with the story, which makes it news anyway. But it's doubtful the regime is ready to go public with the news that their "dear leader" is dead.