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North Korea Today No. 211

RESEARCH INSTITUTE FOR NORTH KOREAN SOCIETY
http://www.goodfriends.or.kr/eng

No. 211 September 2008
Key Party Officials Informed in Advance of Absence of Chairman Kim at the 60th DPRK Foundation’s Anniversary Ceremony on September 9th
North Koreans Do Not Consider Absence of Chairman Kim at the Ceremony a Big Deal
Chairman Kim Enraged at the Report of Military Officers Going Hungry
Provincial Party Leaders Determined To Secure Food Supply for the Military
Fall Crop to Military, None for Farmers




Key Party Officials Informed in Advance of Absence of Chairman Kim at the 60th DPRK Foundation’s Anniversary Ceremony on September 9th
It has come to light that North Korean authorities informed key party officials in advance regarding the absence of Chairman Kim of the National Defense Committee at the 60th DPRK foundation’s anniversary ceremony on September 9th. His absence at the 60th DPRK foundation’s anniversary ceremony has caused a great deal of speculation outside of the country on the status of his health. In spite of the rumors, domestically, a relative calm has been maintained. Although it is not possible to confirm the Chairman’s health problems, the understanding on the part of the high-ranking party officials seems to be that ‘personal safety’ was the main reason for his absence. According to one official, speculation in South Korea that something may have happened to the Chairman or that he may have died, a few years ago are utter nonsense. He goes as far as claiming that Chairman Kim has been in contact with foreign dignitaries such as China’s Vice Chairman Shi Jin Ping. He protested that it is ridiculous that the foreign media would spread such nonsense and blow things out of proportion. He claimed that while it is true that the Chairman’s health is not optimal, it is not to the extent to which the foreign media is making it out to be. The Chairman was not in attendance because of issues regarding his personal safety. The Chairman himself insisted on attending the ceremony, but was advised against it because of these personal safety issues.

However, a former high-ranking party official who defected from the regime claimed that there was never such an incident where an advance notification was sent out in regards to the Chairman’s most important public appearance. This ex-party official claimed that advance notification on the morning of the ceremonial day would be considered highly unusual and that it cannot be any other reason except for the Chairman’s health, and also said that personal safety issues are just a facade to hide the truth about his poor condition.

North Koreans Do Not Consider Absence of Chairman Kim at the Ceremony a Big Deal
North Koreans consider Chairman Kim’s absence from the 60th DPRK foundation’s anniversary ceremony on the September 9th ‘neither unusual nor strange.’ He has in fact missed many important ceremonies before and his absences at those times were not considered unusual either. Whenever he missed important ceremonies, it was emphasized through lectures that “Chairman Kim’s concerns and worries about the nation’s industry and agriculture caused him to lose many nights’ sleep. Beginning at dawn, he visits many factories and farms, making no time for sleep and eating only a rice-ball for a meal.” As before, it is circulated that “the Chairman missed the ceremony because of illness caused by his many visits without any rest.”

Chairman Kim Enraged at the Report of Military Officers Going Hungry
On September 2nd, Chairman Kim of the National Defense Committee received a recent report on the food crisis. It was reported to him that many regions are suffering from severe food shortages. Apparently, he was even shocked to receive word that emergency measures are especially necessary because the military has run out of food as those stationed in Hwanghae Provinces and Pyongan Provinces do not have any food reserves left. Overall, the military is low on rations, the very idea which enraged the Chairman. Sources say that he berated his officials shouting, “How could you let this situation get to be this bad? What have you been doing?”

Chairman Kim was upset by the fact that soldiers fed twice a day are considered lucky and that some soldiers are only fed once a day. Some military units even have their officers go out to neighboring farms to borrow food. If those officers are unable to obtain more food, the soldiers go hungry. When the officers have to skip meals, the subordinate soldiers go hungry without fail. Chairman Kim was angered by the severity of the situation to the point of claiming he was surrounded by idiots. He was so agitated by the situation he even collapsed at one point. He ordered that any grain imported from China and food obtained from outside sources should first be routed to the military in order to guarantee adequate resources for it.

Provincial Party Leaders Determined To Secure Food Supply for the Military
In response to Chairman Kim’s rage and ill health, provincial party leaders are determined to apply their utmost efforts to secure a food supply for the military because “Our Dear Leader should not be burdened with more worries.” Leading provincial party officials requested that city and county party officials “release any food reserves to the military in order to lessen Dear Leader’s worries.” In return, city and county party officials asked the chairperson of the People’s Assembly for cooperation in sending supplies to the military. In the case of Hamgyung Province, the City of Chungjin decided to send 300 MT of corn obtained from foreign countries and 80 MT of dried noodles(꽈면) from China to the military. The City of Hoeryong also decided to send 400 MT of corn from foreign sources by train to the military stationed in Hwanghae and Jagang Provinces. The loaded trains left on September 12th.”

Fall Crop to Military, None for Farmers
Chairmans of People’s Assembly of Farms in Hwanghae and Pyongan Provinces agreed in one voice, “This year officials will be confiscating the entire harvest living nothing for the farmers themselves.” Grain from last year’s crop has been long exhausted and no reserves remain. It is expected that even with entire fall crop going to military it is not sufficient to cover the required amount for the militaries therefore, none will be left for the farmers. A party official of South Hwanghae Province says, “Our dear Leader, after receiving reports on the food crisis for this year, repeatedly emphasized that beginning next year all efforts should be directed toward agriculture.” The official also added that Chairman Kim’s health problem may have been a result of his concern over the food crisis.

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North Korea Today No. 210

RESEARCH INSTITUTE FOR NORTH KOREAN SOCIETY
No. 210 September 2008
Soldiers Argued and Fought while Trying To Steal Corn
In Joorye Market, Pyongsung, a Group Fight Between Market Managers and Trade Women
Residents in Demolished Areas with No Money Cannot Receive a House
71 Year-Old Man Killed Himself after Being Kicked Out of His Home
Ahnju Fertilizer Factory Stopped its Operation since July 20
Person Returning Home From Japan Runs Away on a Boat
The Dukchun Automobile Company Host a Ceremony Following “Dear General’s Measures”



Soldiers Argued and Fought while Trying To Steal Corn
When soldiers of a light infantry battalion based in Jeoncheon County (전천군), Jagang Province, stole corn from a cornfield belonging to a military base in Manpo City, they ended up in a fight with the security guards on duty. When the soldiers went to Manpo City to do a logging operation, they became hungry and stole the corn at the farm around the logging area. When soldiers of Manpo City guarding the field found the thieves, they tried to stop them and began to fight. Because of their disadvantage in numbers, the guards were brutally beaten and some even killed.

When the Defense Security Command(보위사령부) received a report or this incident, they arrested all the soldiers involved in the fight as well as their commanding officers. Soldiers of the light infantry battalion often work in physically challenging jobs such as mining, which has earned them a reputation for being the more rugged group in the military. This is a group where the power of your fist matter more than the ribbons and insignias on your uniform. Nevertheless, it is also notorious for its discipline and loyalty among its members. When their commander was arrested, the soldiers of this battalion quit logging, stole corn, and killed livestock in the village. Although the Defense Security Command warned them several times, their intended violence did not decrease, and eventually resulted in all the arrested officers and soldiers being returned to the logging area.

In Joorye Market, Pyongsung, a Group Fight Between Market Managers and Trade Women
Last August 17, there was a group fight between women traders and the market managers in Joorye Market, Pyongsung. When women traders were prohibited from entering the market they started trading in the alley and around the public buildings. The managers inspected them and began to fight with them. When the market managers prohibited them from trading in order to control disorder in the market, the traders complained and began to fight by scratching their faces and pulling the women’s hair. Curious bystanders who witnessed this fight cheered for the trade women. Some people cursed the managers by saying, “They unrightfully prevented the women from trading. They might as well have killed the women instead.” The chief of the managers reported this incident to the police, but the fight was over when police officers arrived at the site. As the food shortage worsens and the trading policies come under tighter control, the women traders’ resistance is becoming more and more prevalent.

Residents in Demolished Areas with No Money Cannot Receive a House
Since April 18 of this year, houses along the railroad between East Sariwon and Seoheung Station, North Hwanghae Province, have been demolished. Now the evacuated residents are living in shacks and huts. Because the authority demolished their houses without securing enough temporary housing, about 200 residents were forced to make and live in huts on the mountains or riversides. Staff of 1210 Construction Enterprise provided good building sites to residents who bribed them with items like packs of cigarettes. Although the authority tried to give residents housing sites in any cases, most residents who do not have money to build a house cannot even imagine possessing their own house. Of 200 households, only about 60 is building their house, while the others are living in huts without any concrete promise for their own houses. Ko Byong-soon (55) deplored, “When it is hard to have a meal a day, how can I dare to dream of building my house? It is terrible to think of this unchanged living condition.”

71 Year-Old Man Killed Himself after Being Kicked Out of His Home

On August 13, Lee, Duk-soo (71) of Cheonggye-ri (청계리), Bongsan County, North Hwanghae Province, killed himself by hanging. After his house was struck down and cleared away, he was forced to live in a hut. And during the Spring Hardship Period (춘궁기) his wife died from brain hemorrhage. Although he has a son, the son’s situation was too desperate for him to raise the question whether he could live with the son. With his wife passed away, he had no one to turn to. He lived forty more days, then hung himself on a tree branch that had supported the hut.

Before killing himself, the old man Lee Duk-soo often expressed his dissatisfaction toward the government of its policy of removing houses without any countermeasure. Those people whose houses had also been cleared away filed a complaint with the Provincial Party, indicating, “The reason the old man Lee Duk-soo killed himself was because he lost all sense of security when his house was struck down. There is no guarantee that another Lee Duk-soo would not happen.” The Secretary of Organization of Provincial Party, North Hwanghae Province, called a meeting of administrative officials from Sariwon City, Bongsan County, Shingye County, and other areas. They investigated the situation of the people who lost their houses and discussed possible countermeasures. As a result, they decided, “the area plants should build houses within 16 days and have the people who live in the huts along the road relocate to the new houses as soon as possible. The supervisor of the unit that was unable to build the houses within 16 days will be fired,” it warned.

Ahnju Fertilizer Factory Stopped its Operation since July 20
From July 20 to present (end of August), the Ahnju Fertilizer Factory, South Pyongan Province, was unable to produce any fertilizer. From the first half of this year, the laborers did not receive any food distribution even when the factory was producing. Now all production has stopped, and the workers have stopped reporting to work. While the factory was producing, they were able to survive without receiving ration by pilfering fertilizers. However, now there is nothing to salvage from the factory. The Chief and the Unit Supervisors visited the laborers at their homes, and told them, “if you are not going to report to work, you better bring same amount of fertilizer you stole from the factory.” The laborers laughed at them, as they considered the pilfered fertilizer to be in place of the food rations they did not receive. Gong Cheol-ho (41) was outraged and said, “How can they say that to people who eat only porridge twice a day? They should be begging us to come back to work, not yelling at us when they don’t even have food rations to give out. Who do they think they are? Their stomach is full and their back is warm, and so they don’t care how hard it is for us.”

Person Returning Home From Japan Runs Away on a Boat
On August 2nd, Kim, In-soo (48) and his family, who had returned to this country (from Japan), ran away on a boat (전마선). Kim obtained a boat and used it for fishing squids with his brother, Kim, Myong-soo (46). This year, although there were plenty of squids, there were too many boats catching squids as well, and consequently, Kim was unable to catch much. He got permission to advance to Bangjin-dong, Chungam District. He took his whole family to Bangjin-dong for fishing but after fifteen days they suddenly disappeared. The Kim brothers and their families’ disappearance were not noticed until the next day, August 3rd. Authorities suspect that they had gone out to the public sea and were rescued by a foreign boat and went to Japan. The Security office of Bangjin-dong had heightened the surveillance of people that had returned (from Japan) and spot-checked the overnight stay registration. Those officials that authorized Kim brothers to go far out into the sea were reprimanded, and the Security Unit Chief and Vice Chief who received money and allowed the Kim brothers to go out far into the sea were discharged.

The Dukchun Automobile Company Host a Ceremony Following “Dear General’s Measures”
The Dukchun Seungri Automobile Company, South Pyongan Province, host a ceremony following “Dear General’s Measures (장군님 방침 전달 모임).” According a staff’s statement, Chairman Kim Jong-Il who received a report about problems in the automobile companies issued measures to improve productivity by inputting “money of the Party to solve the current issues.” At the ceremony, the company’s executives appealed, “Every worker must admire the General’s intention and contribute to making a great country.” The work units of the company made an oath to this affect everyday.

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North Korea Today No. 209

RESEARCH INSTITUTE FOR NORTH KOREAN SOCIETY
http://www.goodfriends.or.kr/eng
No. 209 September 2008
Ministry of Agriculture Estimate for 2008 Crop
Granary region in South Hwanghae Province, “This year’s yield rate lower than expected”
Woonsong-ri Area in Ahnju City, 38 Died of Starvation.
Punished After Distributing Ground Corncob That Was Used To Feed Livestock to the People
Military Unit 1 of Division 46 Survives On Eating Grass-Meals During the Spring Famine.
When told “not to rob corn” reply was, “Think of it as support for our nation’s assault group”
Galma-dong, Wonsan City, Gathers Their Corn to Help Poor Neighbors
[Opinion] Lives of Domestic Animals Are Placed Before Human Lives In Order To Maintain the Livestock Industry



Ministry of Agriculture Estimate for 2008 Crop
On August 17, The Ministry of Agriculture(농업성) ordered each county’s and city's Farming Village Management Committee (농촌경영위원회) to estimate the grain yield for 2008. Each farm used to calculate their projected grain yield until two years ago. Now the Department of Agriculture visits each farm annually to record the yield. Despite an attempt to streamline the process, false reports still plague the operation. Since last year, the county and city's farming management Committee has delegated their chief engineer and technical experts to each farm, where they conducted the estimation of grain production. The committee enables the delegate to do their work without permission from the farm. By checking the amount of moisture of grains in one square feet, they can estimate the yield of grain in 2.45 acres. The workers in the farm often try to manipulate the delegates to reduce or increase the estimation.

Granary region in South Hwanghae Province, “This year’s yield rate lower than expected”
The Farming Village Management Committee in South Hwanghae Province reported that harvests in counties with big fields were bad. Jaeryong County, for example, is a granary region that primarily harvests rice. Because of flood damage last year, yield rate was low and people of this county suffered deeply, some dying of starvation. The situation is this county hit an all time low when people started peeling off the skins of trees to eat them. We cannot expect much from this year’s harvests either. Many farmers were simply not able to farm. Further, arid weather condition dried up waters in the farmlands and the heavy rain this July devastated many farmlands. Situation in Yeonahn and Baechun Counties are not that different. Despite the fact that regions with big fields received about 1.5-fold more of fertilizers, the harvest does not look very promising. It is predicted, “Next year will be even tougher because, in the western side of the country, farming was particularly bad in the regions with big fields.”

Woonsong-ri Area in Ahnju City, 38 Died of Starvation.
Thirty eight people have died of starvation during a period of farming hardship (the season of spring poverty) in Woonsong-ri area in Ahnju City, South Pyongan Province. Since the corn and peanut harvest in August, starvation throughout the county has gone down, but there are still a lot of people who do not come to work due to a lack of food. The farm at the Booksong-ri borrowed food from wealthy civilians to overcome the farming hardships of last spring. The poor have had to repay eight to twelve tons of rice this coming fall, and are already concerned they won’t be able to meet the quota.

Punished After Distributing Ground Corncob That Was Used To Feed Livestock to the People
In a farm located near Pyongyang, people have distributed 3kg of ground corncob (옥수수 묵지가루), normally food for livestock, because there were nothing else to eat. This was sort of a last resort option to bring out starving farmers to the workplace. The head of farm management committee (농장관리위원장) has kept saying, “Let’s overcome this hardship and manage our farm well” and encouraged people by visiting each one of the farmers’ houses only to receive cold welcomes. “Even cows and horses have to eat in order to work, let alone humans. How can we work without being fed? Since the farm cannot solve our food problem, we have to find solution ourselves. Isn’t that the only way?” This is typical complaints from the farmers. So, distributing portions ground corncob that were originally supposed to go to the livestock was a last resort option for the Committee. However, even this action was reported to the local police department and the head of farm management committee was suspended from active duty for 6 months.

Military Unit 1 of Division 46 Survives On Eating Grass-Meals During the Spring Famine
Because Kangwon Province lacks in the numbers of ancillary work places, the living conditions of families of military officials are very bad. The food that is distributed into the military base is often robbed by the military officials, leaving low-ranked soldiers short on food. Thus, soldiers generally hope to avoid being placed in the Unit 1. An ex-soldier who recently finished his military duty from the Unit 1 says that he survived on eating grass-meals (풀밥) two times a day. If we observe the health conditions of the soldiers in Unit 1 of the Division 46, 40-50 out of 100 people are undernourished. Many of these soldiers were actually told to go back home. Nevertheless, some of them still hesitated to go back because they do not want to show their thin bodies to their parents. Out of concern, some Units have begun segregating undernourished patients for special treatment systems.

When told “not to rob corn” reply was, “Think of it as support for our nation’s assault group”
Dukheung-ri and Eunheung-ri (village) in Taechun County, North Pyongan Province, are where the assault group currently resides to help the construction of water systems. In this summer, the cornfields in these villages looked like battlefields. After hard work and not being fed properly, the soldiers swept through the cornfields that belonged to the farmers. They even took corn that was not ripened yet, destroying the cornfields. The Farm Management Committee visited the commanding unit numerous times to report such incidence and request for countermeasures, but was no use. Instead, what they heard was that “farmers should think of this as support to the nation’s assault group who’s carrying on an important mission right now.” The farmers think of this group as nothing more than thieves.

Galma-dong, Wonsan City, Gathers Their Corn to Help Poor Neighbors
The Neighborhood Unit 23, in Galma-dong, Wonsan City, Kangwon Province, collected corns to send to the neighboring regions where people are suffering from hunger. One of the people who received help was Kim Sungman whose wife died from hunger last May and whose son severely hurt his leg while working in a factory. Kim’s son started working in the factory last July after being denied service in the military because he was physically too weak. Kim is not able to work either because of his own health problems. The foreman of neighborhood unit and the director of the village office, along with the workers at the village office, decided to help Kim’s family when they heard about the unfortunate story. Other families followed by providing at least 200g of corns. The foreman of neighborhood unit said, “We are glad for being able to help, but still worried at the same time because nobody can guarantee how they will survive when we are no longer in position to help others.”

[Opinion] Lives of Domestic Animals Are Placed Before Human Lives In Order To Maintain the Livestock Industry
News broke that a livestock cooperative farm in a neighboring area of Pyongyang had distributed animal fodder to farm workers who were themselves suffering from food shortages. What is striking about this story is not the fact that the farm provided animal fodder to human beings who were starving, but the fact that the head of the farm management committee was given six-month suspension due to his decision. As he had given away fodder to workers, the farm faced a lack of feed for animal livestock, which led to some damage to the livestock farming.

This year, farmers have barely sustained by eating grass, which is far worse than the ground corncob. As summer passes by, the food provided by the U.S. as an aid are running short and a new crop of grain is protected by security guards due to a severe competition (to snatch grain) among soldiers at nearby military bases and construction labors. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Agriculture has sent out a group of officers to farms across the nation in order to estimate this year's harvest but authorities have only received gloomy reports from these officers.

As the current situation continues, with people desperately searching even in trashcans for food, the chief of the farm management committee must have had no choice but to distribute animal fodder to farm workers. Yet, it is also an inevitable reality of North Korea that the managing chief should be responsible for giving fodder away to the workers, which ultimately has led to some damage to the livestock industry by.

In fact, it is difficult to fully understand what psychological conflicts North Korean officers might go through between their duty to protect the livestock industry and the duty to save workers' lives. Still, it is sad and disturbing to look at the reality of the situation forcing officials to put livestock as security for people's lives, and to neglect people's lives in order to save livestock. To re-emphasize, the South Korean government should still provide unconditional food support for North Korea. The South's help, at this moment, is the only way to save people's lives as well as to protect the stock industry in the North.

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North Korea Today No. 208

RESEARCH INSTITUTE FOR NORTH KOREAN SOCIETY

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No. 208 September 2008
Lecture for Officials, A Stern Warning
Heechun City Machine Factory Caught Privately Manufacturing Parts
All 15 Prosecutors Arrested at Dukchun Prosecutor’s Office
Accountant at a Pulp Mill in Gilju, “I could not help myself but to embezzle the company money to pay for the reception expenses.”
The Inspection of Anti-Social Activities in Sinuiju Is Extended Until the End of the Year
Strengthened Legal Regulations Regarding Pine Mushrooms




Lecture for Officials, A Stern Warning
Recently, there were lectures given to military officials in cities and counties throughout the nation. The lecture was instigated by an inspection report, stating that the amount of illegal and criminal activities committed by officials is greater than that of civilians. Cases of overlooking drug trafficking, involvement in drug sales, taking bribes in return for covering up smugglers in the border area, and hiding assets accumulated through illegal actives were all uncovered during the inspections. The lecture report was based on the findings of the inspection team, which was made up of members of the Central Party anti-social activity’s group and the police. The lecture report was prepared with the following content:

“The officials cheat the party, betray the trust of the party and fall into crime when they become blinded by money and material wealth. In some areas, officials care only for their own comfort and ignore the suffering of the workers, treating them like objects. Other officials look down on their employees as more money fills their own pockets. The workers live in warehouses or in public buildings, putting up with discomfort and fatigue because they don’t have a home. However, some officials use the materials that belong to the factory and public enterprise to turn their houses into luxury homes. From now on, regardless of the position, official or not, whoever commits a crime by conspiring with law-breaking merchants, by protecting merchants from other provinces and by providing lodging unlawfully will be prosecuted by law and expelled to rural areas.”

One of the officials who attended the lecture gave his reaction, “There has never been a time when officials were warned with this sort of declaration. This is a stiff warning against illegal activities by officials.”

Heechun City Machine Factory Caught Privately Manufacturing Parts
The Heechun City machine factory in Jagang Province had been producing parts for cars and tractors in addition to those intended for government use. Workers have been failing to show up for work since the factory stopped providing rations during the hunger crisis, so factory officials decided to produce additional parts in order to resolve the problem. On August 3, after selling the additional parts, the factory provided 5 kg of rice to each worker with the profit from their sale to a trading company in Heysan City. However, the county prosecutor’s office inspection teams conducted a thorough investigation to determine, “whether or not the money from the parts sale benefited the state, if the financial condition of the factory is good, as well as the status of the factory officials’ personal consumption.” The results of the investigation revealed that the factory officials on average took two million won from the parts sale and the workers received 5 kg of rice and some wages. On August 18, the production of extra parts stopped due to the inspection. Meanwhile, it has been reported that the reason behind the sudden inspection by the county prosecutor’s office was because some dissatisfied workers filed complaints at the prosecutor’s office. The workers felt unhappy about the huge gaps between lives of the factory manager, county secretary, and some of the officials’ whose livelihood suddenly improved and the lives of the workers.

All 15 Prosecutors Arrested at Dukchun Prosecutor’s Office
All of the 15 prosecutors at the Dukchun prosecutor’s office have been arrested. The charge is corruption in collusion with residents who engaged illegal business. Except for the three low-level prosecutors who were charged with minor crimes, the chief and 12 other prosecutors had their houses confiscated and, depending on the severity of the crime, received a punishment of expulsion and more than 10 years of re-education.

Accountant at a Pulp Mill in Gilju, “I could not help myself but to embezzle the company money to pay for the reception expenses.”
An accounting manager at a pulp mill in Gilju in the North Hamgyong Province was caught during a prosecutor’s investigation and interrogated. The mill has sold various size paper to provide corn for their workers. However, the accounting manager was charged and arrested for skimming 150 Won from the profits made from selling the papers. The accountant explained that he was hiding the money to secretly meet the requests made by the mill and the County Party’s officials. He said, “When the investigators from the Provincial Party and the Central Party visit, all kinds of reception expenses are needed. The company officials asked me to give them the money without making any record of it because they said they would pay back the money afterwards. But since the only way to make up the lost reception expenses was from the profits of the paper mill, I couldn’t help but to take some money out.”

The Inspection of Anti-Social Activities in Sinuiju Is Extended Until the End of the Year
The inspection of anti-social activities in Sinuiju in North Pyongan Province was planned to end on August 15, but it has been declared that the investigation will continue until the end of the year. The problem of luxurious houses owned by some residents has been selected as this year’s inspection issue. The city instructed that one-story houses higher than the standard height of 3. 8 meters are to be demolished. The city authorities regard the taller houses as the luxurious ones because they require more materials to build.

Strengthened Legal Regulations Regarding Pine Mushrooms
On August 22, the Central Party handed down a policy entitled “Tougher Regulations for Pine Mushrooms” to the city and military security authorities in North Hamgyong Province. The Party announced, “those who illegally pick up and distribute pine mushrooms are committing a criminal act which misappropriates North Korea’s revolutionary fund. In order to cope with the world-wide food shortage crisis and prepare for the revolutionary fund, we need to ensure necessary rice though well-managed foreign currency earning jobs, including pine mushroom sales to other countries. We thus decided to strengthen the regulations regarding pine mushrooms and the legal control of the mushrooms.” Accordingly, the crackdown on pine mushroom smuggling along the North Korea-China border has been intensified. The Party has given police stations and prosecutors the legal authority not only to crack down on the illegal pine mushroom trade but also to search for the mushroom traders’ houses. Some police circulate fake rumors, saying they are looking for people who can sell them pine mushrooms, in order to arrest illegal pine mushroom traders.




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North Korea Today No. 207

RESEARCH INSTITUTE FOR NORTH KOREAN SOCIETY
No. 207 September 2008
Five Homeless Children Die from Poison
The Homeless Beaten To Death
People Prefer Backpacks Due To Theft by the Homeless
More Parents Relying on the Elderly for Child Care
“Improve Teachers’ Abilities First”
Students of Gilju Elementary School Receive New Shoes



Five Homeless Children Die from Poison
On August 15th, five homeless children (Kkotjebi) died at Ganri station in South Pyongan Province. In less than an hour after they had eaten food that someone threw from the train, the children suffered from a stomachache and died soon after. While the homeless struggled for ten minutes, nobody tried to help them. Although there were many conductors and passengers waiting for trains, they only looked on as the Kkotjebi rolled over the floor with pain. Six homeless people ate the same food. Five of them died and one survived. As the children competed for food, the survivor was the one who could not eat enough because he was weak. The surviving child had a headache but no stomachache. He kept vomiting but recovered after one hour.

Although it was too late to save the lives of the Kkotjebis, the safety bureau considered their death to be strange and looked into the cause. They took the corpses to West Pyongyang People’s hospital to perform an autopsy and found the cause of death to be poison. While it is not yet known who did this or why, there is a strong speculation that someone purposely put poison in the food and did experiments on the homeless. The case was closed without further investigation because it was the death of homeless children who have no name and home. A witness at the scene said, “It is better for them to die. It is more comfortable to die when they are young than to struggle throughout their whole life without education and money. It might sound heartless but it is realistic.”
The Homeless Beaten To Death
Since July, the number of homeless people has increased and many of them have been injured or died from beatings all over the country. The homeless usually frequent parking lots, restaurants or food stands in the market. They steal food and eat it, even though they know they will be beaten to death for doing so. They are busy putting food into their mouths even when they are beaten. While their heads are bleeding, they only focused on eating and struggled with the pain caused by suddenly swallowing food. A woman who sees these kinds of boys very often said, “They will get sick and die if they don’t eat food, even in this way. I know their situation very well but I cannot give them food for free because of my financial situation.” The woman said these words with tears in the eyes. A few days ago, a boy younger than ten years old died from a beating in Chungjin City. He had stolen food but was soon caught. During a terrible kicking, his skull cracked and his whole body became covered with his blood. He floundered on the street but nobody helped him. Nobody tried to stop the people from beating the child. Even police officers looked at the scene impassively.

People Prefer Backpacks Due To Theft by the Homeless
Residents who go shopping at Soonam market in North Hamgyong Province have been robbed by the homeless. Older people are especially vulnerable to having their pocket picked when they count bills to pay. Police officers oversee the homeless, limiting their access to the market. The homeless, who cannot go into the market, prowl around and steal food, money and goods. As the number of people who suffer from the homeless has increased, the public has developed ways to guard against thievery. People prefer backpacks, as shoulder bags are snatched easily but a backpack is more difficult to grab. Closer to the area where the homeless often appear, people hold their backpacks tightly or carry the bag on their chest, as if they are hugging it. King Seong-rye (age 43), said she shared her tips about how to defend against the homeless with her neighbors.

More Parents Relying on the Elderly for Child Care
As nursery schools and kindergartens continue to increase their fees, more parents who cannot afford the new prices are pulling their children out of the programs. Parents say that it is hard to ignore when teachers say that the class window curtain is worn out and new velvet fabric is out in the market. Since teachers keep indirectly asking for money or goods, parents have to donate at least once or twice. Parents must pay attention to the requests because they want their children to get attention from teachers. Due to this method of indirectly charging more, many families do not send their children to nursery schools or kindergartens.

However, parents still need someone to take care of their children while they go to work. More and more, some parents are asking older neighbors to help with baby-sitting. Old people are not mobilized by the state for labor. While they stay at home, older women take good care of children with a small amount of food. They have not yet replaced the formal teachers of nursery schools or kindergartens, but parents are paying the elderly to take care of their children instead of the expensive institutions. However, more parents are also leaving their children at home or letting them play around the house.

“Improve Teachers’ Abilities First”
From August 2nd to the 5th, the education bureau of Jagang Province held a test to judge the learning ability of middle school students in Kanggye City. The results showed that students’ learning ability is very low. The low score shocked the provincial education bureau and the result was also reported to the Central Party. The Central Party agreed that improving teachers’ capabilities is necessary to advance students’ learning ability. Therefore, the Party ordered schools across the country “to elevate teachers’ abilities.” The education department of every region decided to evaluate teachers’ abilities.

Students of Gilju Elementary School Receive New Shoes
On August 17, six hundred new shoes were provided to the students of Gilju elementary school in Gilju County, North Hamgyong Province. These fabric gym shoes were made from materials that were sent from South Korea last year. Although the shoes were not a free gift, it was a very precious present to the children who had worn out shoes.
Good Friends: Center for Peace, Human Rights and Refugees
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Good Friends (Korea)
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North Korea Today No. 207

RESEARCH INSTITUTE FOR NORTH KOREAN SOCIETY
No. 207 September 2008
Five Homeless Children Die from Poison
The Homeless Beaten To Death
People Prefer Backpacks Due To Theft by the Homeless
More Parents Relying on the Elderly for Child Care
“Improve Teachers’ Abilities First”
Students of Gilju Elementary School Receive New Shoes



Five Homeless Children Die from Poison
On August 15th, five homeless children (Kkotjebi) died at Ganri station in South Pyongan Province. In less than an hour after they had eaten food that someone threw from the train, the children suffered from a stomachache and died soon after. While the homeless struggled for ten minutes, nobody tried to help them. Although there were many conductors and passengers waiting for trains, they only looked on as the Kkotjebi rolled over the floor with pain. Six homeless people ate the same food. Five of them died and one survived. As the children competed for food, the survivor was the one who could not eat enough because he was weak. The surviving child had a headache but no stomachache. He kept vomiting but recovered after one hour.

Although it was too late to save the lives of the Kkotjebis, the safety bureau considered their death to be strange and looked into the cause. They took the corpses to West Pyongyang People’s hospital to perform an autopsy and found the cause of death to be poison. While it is not yet known who did this or why, there is a strong speculation that someone purposely put poison in the food and did experiments on the homeless. The case was closed without further investigation because it was the death of homeless children who have no name and home. A witness at the scene said, “It is better for them to die. It is more comfortable to die when they are young than to struggle throughout their whole life without education and money. It might sound heartless but it is realistic.”
The Homeless Beaten To Death
Since July, the number of homeless people has increased and many of them have been injured or died from beatings all over the country. The homeless usually frequent parking lots, restaurants or food stands in the market. They steal food and eat it, even though they know they will be beaten to death for doing so. They are busy putting food into their mouths even when they are beaten. While their heads are bleeding, they only focused on eating and struggled with the pain caused by suddenly swallowing food. A woman who sees these kinds of boys very often said, “They will get sick and die if they don’t eat food, even in this way. I know their situation very well but I cannot give them food for free because of my financial situation.” The woman said these words with tears in the eyes. A few days ago, a boy younger than ten years old died from a beating in Chungjin City. He had stolen food but was soon caught. During a terrible kicking, his skull cracked and his whole body became covered with his blood. He floundered on the street but nobody helped him. Nobody tried to stop the people from beating the child. Even police officers looked at the scene impassively.

People Prefer Backpacks Due To Theft by the Homeless
Residents who go shopping at Soonam market in North Hamgyong Province have been robbed by the homeless. Older people are especially vulnerable to having their pocket picked when they count bills to pay. Police officers oversee the homeless, limiting their access to the market. The homeless, who cannot go into the market, prowl around and steal food, money and goods. As the number of people who suffer from the homeless has increased, the public has developed ways to guard against thievery. People prefer backpacks, as shoulder bags are snatched easily but a backpack is more difficult to grab. Closer to the area where the homeless often appear, people hold their backpacks tightly or carry the bag on their chest, as if they are hugging it. King Seong-rye (age 43), said she shared her tips about how to defend against the homeless with her neighbors.

More Parents Relying on the Elderly for Child Care
As nursery schools and kindergartens continue to increase their fees, more parents who cannot afford the new prices are pulling their children out of the programs. Parents say that it is hard to ignore when teachers say that the class window curtain is worn out and new velvet fabric is out in the market. Since teachers keep indirectly asking for money or goods, parents have to donate at least once or twice. Parents must pay attention to the requests because they want their children to get attention from teachers. Due to this method of indirectly charging more, many families do not send their children to nursery schools or kindergartens.

However, parents still need someone to take care of their children while they go to work. More and more, some parents are asking older neighbors to help with baby-sitting. Old people are not mobilized by the state for labor. While they stay at home, older women take good care of children with a small amount of food. They have not yet replaced the formal teachers of nursery schools or kindergartens, but parents are paying the elderly to take care of their children instead of the expensive institutions. However, more parents are also leaving their children at home or letting them play around the house.

“Improve Teachers’ Abilities First”
From August 2nd to the 5th, the education bureau of Jagang Province held a test to judge the learning ability of middle school students in Kanggye City. The results showed that students’ learning ability is very low. The low score shocked the provincial education bureau and the result was also reported to the Central Party. The Central Party agreed that improving teachers’ capabilities is necessary to advance students’ learning ability. Therefore, the Party ordered schools across the country “to elevate teachers’ abilities.” The education department of every region decided to evaluate teachers’ abilities.

Students of Gilju Elementary School Receive New Shoes
On August 17, six hundred new shoes were provided to the students of Gilju elementary school in Gilju County, North Hamgyong Province. These fabric gym shoes were made from materials that were sent from South Korea last year. Although the shoes were not a free gift, it was a very precious present to the children who had worn out shoes.
Good Friends: Center for Peace, Human Rights and Refugees
If you need further information, please contact

Good Friends (Korea)
E-mail:intnetwork@jungto.org
Tel:82-2-587-8996 / Fax:82-2-587-8998

Good Friends USA (Washington, DC)
E-mail:goodfriendsusa@yahoo.co.kr
Tel: 1-202-824-0788/1-301-455-9196(D)
http://www.goodfriendsusa.blogspot.com/

North Korea Today No. 206

RESEARCH INSTITUTE FOR NORTH KOREAN SOCIETY
http://www.goodfriends.or.kr/eng
No. 206 September 2008

Mass Protest against Control over Commercial Activities at Chungjin
City of Chungjin, “Slow Down on Control until Food Rations Are Available”
City of Hyesan Investigates Buying and Selling of Houses
Public Execution of University Students for Human Trafficking
In North Hamgyong Province, Rumors of a Coming of "one of the toughest investigations of anti-socialist activities by the Central party" Causes Stir










Mass Protest against Control over Commercial Activities at Chungjin
Conflicts surrounding control over commercial activities in the city of Chungjin, North Hamgyung Province, have been rising steadily and have calmed down only recently. Control over the age limit of peddlers was not enforced very strictly because of the lack of food rations. However, toward the end of August, control over commercial activities was tightened causing tension among the residents. A peddler at Soonam Market, Kwon Young-choon (48) says “Some young women without peddler’s license and elderly residents, sixty to seventy years of age, were outside the market area, peddling some merchandise. The head of the Market Management office and his subordinates came out and chased away the peddlers as if they were no better than dogs. Those who did not cooperate were arrested and forced to sign investigative reports. They were then force fingerprinted and received fines ranging from 1,000 to 2,000 won each. I’ve heard that the peddlers had to give bribes of up to three packs of cigarettes to make the Market Management Office employees look the other way.”

On August 24, small teams with three to four security officers conducted intense investigations in the market area in the name of maintaining order. It was inevitable that a fight broke out between these security teams and female peddlers who were struggling to earn a living. In the beginning, the peddlers seemed to be losing, but female peddlers nearby quickly joined forces, and it turned into a big brawl. The word about the fight spread so fast throughout the region that the residents are not reluctant to admit that the fight was the second incident that shook the city of Chungjin since the March 4 incident. The fight brought a public outcry in the area by those female peddlers who did not participate in the fight and those from other markets in the city. This incident also caused anger toward the authorities on the part of the husbands and brothers of the female peddlers. Naturally, this incident has placed the authorities under strain.

City of Chungjin, “Slow Down on Control until Food Rations Are Available”
City party officials of Chungjin immediately reported the afore-mentioned incident to the provincial party headquarters. On August 26, an emergency plenary provincial meeting was convened. At this meeting, the leading secretary and the party chairman were severely criticized. The leading secretary of the city party accepted the criticism of the leading secretary of provincial party. However, he made a suggestion, “City of Chungjin cannot solve the food crisis affecting tens of thousands of residents because of lack of food to distribute. Age limit puts a restraint on the number of peddlers, but many wives are trying to make a living by peddling merchandise. Would there be a way to make an exception to the city of Chungjin by slowing down control until some food gets distributed? ” Even some provincial party officials sided with the city officials, saying “How could people make living under continued control of commercial activities? How could husbands report to work without food rationing? This continuing problem is a heavy burden on everyone.”

However, the provincial party leaders could not agree to the request by city of Chungjin in presence of city party officials from other cities. Provincial party leaders could not make an exception to Chungjin and the central party’s policy does not allow it. They ended the meeting without any conclusion. After the meeting, city of Chungjin issued oral orders to all the district police stations and the market management offices that they relax their control of the commercial activities until food rations become available. Since the oral orders were issued, no female peddler has been further bothered in the market throughout the city of Chungjin.

City of Hyesan Investigates Buying and Selling of Houses

Since August 17, the central party in the city of Hyesan, Ryanggang Province has been on the look out for anti-socialist activities. Officials announced that viewing of foreign publications or video recordings and listening to broadcasts from China will lead to punishment of exile and that distribution of any of the above-mentioned items will result in up to ten years in re-education facilities. Illegal activities by trading companies and buying and selling of houses are all under intense investigation. As a consequence of these investigations, the chief prosecutor of city of Hyesan has been relieved from his job. The chief prosecutor and the chief of construction unit of Civil Engineering Bureau collaborated in building a house. The construction unit chief provided all the necessary laborers and the chief prosecutor guaranteed supply of all the material for five-story apartments. They did not receive any approval from the city of Hyesan People’s Assembly in transferring the finished house to other businessmen. In this illegal activity, money changed hands. Some one complained to the Central Party and these two individuals are under investigation after being relieved of their jobs.

Public Execution of University Students for Human Trafficking
Since the Central Party’s investigations against anti-socialist activities began, a public trial was held against the seven caught for human trafficking at Hyesan stadium. Four among those seven were sentenced to thirteen years in re-education center and three were executed on the spot. All those executed happened to be students of Hyesan University of Industry. These students tried to make money for tuition and suspended attending school before going into the human trafficking business. Their relatives and friends were witnesses to their executions. They could not stop weeping. Some collapsed and had to be taken to the hospital.

In North Hamgyong Province, Rumors of a Coming of "one of the toughest investigations of anti-socialist activities by the Central party" Causes Stir
The Central party's organization and guidance department has started an investigation of anti-social activities in Hoeryong City and Chungjin City, Hamgyong Province in September. And because it is rumored to be the toughest investigation ever put on by the party, tension is palpable among the residents. They will crack down on those whose family members have escaped to China (cross-borders) or to South Korea. Family members of the escapees will be forced to move to restricted areas. The Province official stated that, "They will root out those who are connected with escapees to South Korea." A thorough investigation in the border area is supposedly expected.

One official of the central party stressed that, "We should come up with better and diverse measures, so that we can continue to inspect the people efficiently." In order to do so, they organized a tentative investigative team with excellent and capable inspectors. However, Kim Choon-geun (39) casually comments that, "The investigation has been an issue for a long time. They conduct it annually. No matter how harsh it is, someone with money can avoid any inspection." He did not seem to take it seriously.

Each Police Station Will Be In Charge of the Railway Station's Order

National Defense Committee stated that inspection teams would not be run by railway stations any longer. Instead, the police stations will be in charge of maintaining each railway station's public order. While the railway stations owned the inspection teams, they became corrupt and resulted in chaotic railway stations. Given the circumstances, each police department will take responsibility of keeping the public peace at their assigned railway stations.

The Corn Military Burglars Likely Sentenced To Be Re-educated in Pyonggang County
On August 11, the police station in Pyonggang County, Kangwon Province arrested military personnel who attempted to steal corn from local farms, beating security guards beaten in the attempt. The military officer in charge visited the police station and asked to let them off this case. But the police officers took a firm stand on this robbery case. As the military personnel's crime has been continued, police are ordered to crack down on burglary. This case is not a simple theft. Violence was also involved. The robbers are expected to be punished severely for the violence. The police will treat the military criminal as same as any public criminal. They are likely to be sentenced to some re-education centers. To it’s shame, the Pyonggang County has a higher burglary rate than many other counties, and as a result officials are determined to clamp down on military personnel thefts.





Good Friends: Center for Peace, Human Rights and Refugees
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North Korea Today No. 205

RESEARCH INSTITUTE FOR NORTH KOREAN SOCIETY
http://www.goodfriends.or.kr/eng

No. 205 September 2008


Soldiers Steal Farmers Cow and Assault Police Investigators
Fatal Truck Accident near Daehongdan and Yeonsa County Leaves Seven Dead
The Gimchaek Iron Mill and Daehongdan Farm Strike a Deal
Potato Shortage for Area Ryanggang Province Due to Rising Gas Prices
Two Bodies Discovered in Dooman River, Onsung County
Inspector General Kills Pedestrian While Illegally Operating Vehicle
18 Vehicle Accidents in the First Quarter of 2008 Reports 116 Woolim Company


Soldiers Steal Farmers Cow and Assault Police Investigators
On June 12, two soldiers at the 4.25 military training camp in Moonmoo-ri, Seoheung County, North Hwanghae Province, stole and killed a laboring cow (부림소) of the 5th farming unit.

Suspecting military personnel involvement, police investigators went to the commanding officers at the training camp. When questioned, the officers denied allegations and refused to assist the police, saying “there is no evidence that our soldiers stole the cow. You should have more proof before suspecting any military personnel.” An altercation ensued when the military officers were quoted as yelling, "How dare you suspect our soldiers with this crime!" According to the police report, soldiers at the training camp beat the police investigators and damaged their bikes. Appeals to the commanding general met with the same resistance and defiance to take action.

One of the investigators from the assault informed a family member employed at the Defense Security Command. The criminal case was immediately reported to the Ministry of the People's Armed Forces.

Military Prosecutors examined all the witnesses in both the original theft and the assault and battery of police investigators. On July 22nd, soldiers in both incidents were found guilty and received a public conviction at the Gahraegol field (가래골 벌판) of Moonmoo-ri for theft and damaging civilian and military relationships. Accomplices were sentenced to thirteen years at a reeducation center.

Fatal Truck Accident near Daehongdan and Yeonsa County Leaves Seven Dead
August 3, on the return trip after delivering iron plates to Daehongdan Farm, a Gimchaek Iron Mill truck carrying fifteen tons of potatoes overturned at the border area of Daehongdan and Yeonsa County. The wives of four Gimchaek Iron Mill employees who were in the truck at the time died at the scene, three others were injured. Three farmers of Daehongdan who boarded the truck to go to Chungjin Market also died. It is reported that the employees took the truck to buy produce in Ryanggang Province: potatoes were scattered across the road. The Yeonsa County Police Station is currently investigating the events. The driver is being detained at the Yeonsa County police station for further questioning.

The Gimchaek Iron Mill and Daehongdan Farm Strike a Deal
Since halfway through last year, the employees of Gimchaek Iron Mill of Chungjin City, North Hamgyong Province have been without proper food rationing. A few months ago, the Mill and Daehongdan Farm of Ryanggang Province struck a business contract. The agreement stated that the Mill would trade 200 square meters of iron plates and 13,000 meters of iron rebar with 70 tons of Daehongdan Farm potatoes to provide the workers with food.

Potato Shortage for Area Ryanggang Province Due to Rising Gas Prices
The potatoes harvested at the Daehongdan potato farm, Ryanggang Province are not reaching some of the neediest throughout Ryanggang Province. The Education and Health Department of Hyesan City and the Construction Shock Troop Brigade in Ryanggang Province are still accepting potato deliveries. And the schools receiving private contributions are able to meet delivery costs as well. However, many of the less wealthy schools are currently doing without the staple.

Two Bodies Discovered in Dooman River, Onsung County
July 24, two dead bodies were found along the Dooman River (두만강) by a Watergate guard in Onsung County, Northern Hamgyong Province. The police began to investigations in neighborhoods throughout the county in order to identify the bodies. One of the deceased was believed to be a male in his 40's. Police are also conducting investigations into those that have recently traveled to the county. A wife of a missing area man who had been missing for a few days confirmed the body belonged to her 41 year old husband. The identity of the other body has not been disclosed.

Inspector General Kills Pedestrian While Illegally Operating Vehicle
On July 24, Onsung County, Northern Hamgyong Province, an Inspector General killed a woman crossing the street while driving a military vehicle on a market street. At 4:00pm, the accused stopped to inspect a military vehicle and decided to drive it without a valid driver’s license, at which time he struck a woman. She died at the scene. According to one eye-witness, “How could an inspector do such a stupid and inappropriate thing? He is supposed to be a role model for the public. The military is irresponsible.”

18 Vehicle Accidents in the First Quarter of 2008 Reports 116 Woolim Company
116 Woolim Company of Chungjin City, Northern Hamgyong Province reported that there were a total of eighteen vehicle accidents in the first quarter of this year. On July 23, a Woolim Company bus slid off a hill on the way to Gimchaek City. Two died and nine injured from the accident.




Good Friends: Center for Peace, Human Rights and Refugees
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North Korea Today No. 204

RESEARCH INSTITUTE FOR NORTH KOREAN SOCIETY
No. 204 September 2008
General Assembly of the National Party Cell Secretary to Te Held in October
Soonchun City and Pyongsung City, "We can not supply food for this year or next year"
"Factories should provide workers with meals"
“We should cut down on food consumption” versus “We can only cut down if we actually had food to eat.”
Half of the Moonmoo-ri Farm in Seoheung County Damaged by Flood
The Military Bean Factories Suggest, “Tofu Bean is a Longevity (Macrobiotic) Food”
Soldiers Trouble Farmers by Planting Beans in Their Farmlands
Parents Urge Children to Enter Military: "We can't feed you"
Training Camp '91' in Kangsuh County Tries To Deceive People with New Food Distribution System
[Opinion] The South Korean Government Should Still Provide Food Aid for North Korea Even Though It Is Late






General Assembly of the National Party Cell Secretary to Te Held in October
General Assembly of the National Party Cell Secretary (전국당세포비서대회) is scheduled to be held in October. Ten thousand cell secretaries, which will be biggest meeting ever, are expected to attend. This meeting resumed last year after a 14 year hiatus. The objective of this meeting is to discuss the food situation. The food situation has taken an unfavorable turn; the Central party lost its support of the people. They are concerned about a possible public movement in the near future because of the shortage of food.

At the meeting, the Central party will emphasize the role of the cell secretaries who are responsible for educating people. This will allow the cell secretaries to have the people under control. North Korea anticipates a food crisis this coming winter. This might lead people to a movement (protest). They will hold the biggest meeting of 10,000 participates to prevent people from a movement. One official of Central Party said, "The objectives of the general assembly of the National Party Cell Secretaries this year is to indoctrinate people in dogmas as to a projected food crisis. After this meeting is over, the control of people will most likely be tightened"

Soonchun City and Pyongsung City, "We can not supply food for this year or next year"
Local Food Administration of Soonchun City and Pyongsung city, South Pyongan Province stressed that the only way to survive is to save as much food as possible. Managers of factories and companies, secretaries of the party, and principal administrative officers got together to hold a meeting to state, "We are unable to provide food this year. We are not even sure if we could distribute some food next year. Given the projected food situation, we are unlikely to have food left for even peasants after giving the army provisions. We do not have food for the farmers who engaged in farming, let alone laborers." We are hoping for aid from other countries and for support from the Central government. According to statistic from the Local Food Administration, there is no possibility we can provide food this year and next year."

"Factories should provide workers with meals"

The City Party Officials of Pyongsung City in the general member’s meeting stressed that, "Factories should do their best to run a farm on factory-owned land, so that they can provide their workers with meals."

“We should cut down on food consumption” versus “We can only cut down if we actually had food to eat.”
In Seoheung County of the North Hwanghae Province, the secretaries of work units at the Moonmoo-ri (문무리) Farm said, “The world wide food crisis is worsening. We are not the only county with food problems. Many other countries face the same problem too, so we must cut down on our food consumption.” However, the workers cynically replied, “Shouldn’t we first get some food to eat before we reduce food consumption or not? We are barely living off of the grass porridge. Do you want us to not eat anything and die?” From February to June before the new potato season, the number of people that have died over the five month period at the firm has reached 55.

Half of the Moonmoo-ri Farm in Seoheung County Damaged by Flood
On August 6, half of the nine working units at the Moonmoo-ri Farm in Seoheung County (서흥군)of the North Hwanghae Province were damaged by flood. Since last year’s crop harvest was not good due to flood, the workers greatly worry over next year’s food supply since this year’s crops have been ruined again. The supervisors at the Moonmoo-ri Farm instructed an earlier fall harvest to the damaged units saying, “We need to retrieve every piece of crop”. Suh Chang-won (48 years) said, “This year, we weren’t able to use a lot of fertilizer and the weather situation was not good. Due to the flood damage, I worry because we don’t know how much of the fall harvest crops we’ll be able to retrieve. In addition, because soldiers have been stealing the corn, we don’t know whether we can provide the military provisions.”

The Military Bean Factories Suggest, “Tofu Bean is a Longevity (Macrobiotic) Food”
To reduce the lack of military provisions this year, the People’s Army has put up a slogan stating, “A tofu bean is a longevity (macrobiotic) food,” to promote bean farming. A new policy has been placed that a person must intake 40g of beans at the least and that military personnel must grow 40-50 kg of beans as sideline farming. They also have been encouraging bean farms to finish the bean harvests before the winter military training on December 1. On top of that, they were told that they would investigate how much beans are being stored. Last year, a company located on the border in the North Hamgyong Province, could not acquire the amount of beans requested by their battalion. However, they passed the military investigation after stocking up the necessary amount of beans because they had collected money among themselves to purchase the necessary beans from farms.

Soldiers Trouble Farmers by Planting Beans in Their Farmlands
Due to strong emphasis on bean farming, soldiers have moved beyond the ancillary work lands of their military base and are starting to encroach on farmland to plant beans. The Gosachong battalion of the Aviation headquarters, which is located in Jungpyong, Southern Hamgyong Province, angered the Farmlands Management Committee by adding farmer’s fields to their harvestable land. When legal steps were taken by the Committee, nothing was gained except criticism of farmers for fighting with the soldiers. Farmers in this area argue that they've given up about 5 acres (2 Jungbo) worth of farmlands to the military because of various reasons, but the harvests from these lands are also being accounted in farmers' overall production, which leads to a lack of food distribution for farmers.

"Either the 5 acres of land being used by soldiers gets taken out from farmers' overall land usage or soldiers make sure that other grains grow as well when they plant beans," says La Suk-joo (51 years old). Similar problems are occurring in other places as well. In the places where People's Army base camps are stationed, there are many cases where soldiers go into the farmers' fields to plant beans. The amount of lands the military is using in such ways can be added up to a one huge farmland.

Parents Urge Children to Enter Military: "We can't feed you"

In August 11, nationwide military recruitment for the fall season began. In North Hamgyong Province, the total number of enrollment was close to 2,500. A number of parents confessed that their children should be in the military to ease their living conditions. Although they acknowledged that life in the military is difficult, they believed that it would be better than starving at home. In the past, there were many students who wanted to serve in the military because of the possibility of becoming a highly-ranked general, but these days, the primary reason is food. Han Kyung-soo, 41 years old, explained this trend: "Parents see people coming back from military with thin bodies but the fact that they are still sending their children to serve in the military explains how hard their living really is. However, there are still more parents who do not want to send their children to serve, thinking their children will starve to death there.”

Training Camp '91' in Kangsuh County Tries To Deceive People with New Food Distribution System
The artillery battalion from Training camp '91', located in Jangjin-ri of Kangsuh County, South Pyongan Province, has begun distributing soldiers three meals per day since July 15, a change from two meals per day, due to new soldiers' complaints and escapes from the camp. Many soldiers who escaped refused to go back to the military by saying that they'd rather be "discharged dishonorably than go back." These soldiers have had enough with two meals of grass porridge a day. When the Central Party found out about this issue, it ordered food distribution units to guarantee better food distribution to military camps. However, in order to distribute three meals, quantity in each meal will be reduced. "They are just deceiving us," says Cho Myong-chul (28 years old).

[Opinion] The South Korean Government Should Still Provide Food Aid for North Korea Even Though It Is Late
Reportedly, a National Party Cell Secretary General Assembly (전국당세포비서대회) will be held in October 2008 in what is said to the largest National Party Cell Secretary Assembly in North Korean history with nearly all cell secretaries across the country expected to attend (about 10,000 attendees total). At last year's conference, which had taken place after 14 year hiatus, only high performance cell secretaries were invited. Nonetheless, it is more significant to understand the motive behind this year's conference.

It is widely said that the authorities feel that "the mind of the people has been greatly changing due to a nationwide food crisis." The Central Party, who has been reviewing numerous reports on public opinion from every part of the country, might be concerned that "something will happen in near future if the Party does not take any action." Due to such concerns, authorities must feel an urgent need to strengthen ideological education. As the first step, therefore, an ideology education project targeting cell secretaries has been initiated; it is the primary goal of this year's National Party Cell Secretary Assembly to reinforce ideology of both party members and non-members by cell secretaries.

Even though it was late, the South Korean government should still provide food aid for North Korea. It is an excellent opportunity to win the North Korean people's hearts. If the South Korean government unconditionally provides North Korea with large food support, the North Korean people will have more friendly feelings toward the government as well as the people of South Korea.
The World Food Program (WFP) has called on the South Korean government for food support for North Korea. There is no reason for the government in South to hesitate. The sooner the South provides aid, the more benefits the South would enjoy. When food shortages have been worsened to a degree that North Korean authorities become seriously anxious about its people's ideological change, South Korea's unconditional swift food support will not only save people's lives, but also will win the North Korean people's hearts. Moreover, it will allow the South to gain moral advantages over the North in negotiations. The South Korean government's swift decision on food support for the North is urged again.

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North Korea Today No. 203

RESEARCH INSTITUTE FOR NORTH KOREAN SOCIETY
No. 203 September 2008
Forest Cultivation Office Scheduled to Close after years of Private Farming
North Hamgyong Province, “Insure the Completion of Baekdu Mountain’s Highway Construction”.
In Hamheung City of South Hamgyong Province, Orders to Crack Down on Merchants Who Break the Price Controls
Hyesan City, Arrests for Illegal Recorded Materials
Patrolmen Order Women, “Take off Your Socks”
In the National Border Areas, August Inspections for Illegal Recorded Material
In Hoeryong city, Twenty-Five Arrested by the National Security Agency
A Public Trial for Drug Traffickers Took Place in Manpo City, Jagang Province
Violent Incident at an Inspection Point in Shinpo City
Reshuffle in the Railroad Authority Bureau Expected










Forest Cultivation Office Scheduled to Close after years of Private Farming
Those citizens who are involved in forest cultivation have also been farming corn or other crops along with growing tree seedlings in the forest. The practice is forest cultivation in name only, being essentially small private farms. However, starting next year, the forest cultivation office (산림이용반) will close down, due to lack of interest in forest preservation over farming. The end of the Forest Cultivation Office means the current saplings will suffer. The Ministry of Land (국토성) had tried to abolish the Forest Cultivation office, but they decided to let its farming continue until the end of the year due to the food crisis that normally comes during the spring.

North Hamgyong Province, “Insure the Completion of Baekdu Mountain’s Highway Construction”.
The Chairman of the People’s Committee (인민위원장) of each city and county in North Hamgyong Province recently attended a provincial all-members meeting, wherein they decided to focus on Baekdu Mountain’s highway construction. As of now, the crew dispatched to Baekdu Mountain’s highway construction, which is to connect many cities and counties, barely manage to live on a bowel of porridge a day. Their living condition has become more of a concern than any delays of construction. To address the problem, the chairman of the People’s committee and the leading secretary (책임비서) gave an order that local towns should be responsible for unconditionally providing food for the workers until August 20. In addition, local leaders are required to report on the food supplied to workers to the province’s administration office (도당조직부).

At the all-members meeting, leaders also stressed the importance of finishing the first phase of Baekdu Mountain’s highway construction at all costs. The commanders in charge of the construction in each city and county were told secure additional laborers and support their livelihood in case there is a shortage of forced labor.

In Hamheung City of South Hamgyong Province, Orders to Crack Down on Merchants Who Break the Price Controls
The manager at the Sapo market office in Hamheung City, members of the People’s Committee and district officers have clamped down on sellers who raise the price of rice. In addition, they send a broadcasting vehicle around the market, announcing “The allowed price of rice is up to 2,700 won per kg, even if it is good quality rice. Any rice over that price cannot be sold”. (* USD $1.00 is approximately 3,300 North Korea won)

Hyesan City, Arrests for Illegal Recorded Materials
Since August 9, officers at Hyesan city in Yanggang Province have been searching for illegal recorded materials. The inspectors, called 109 from the Central Party, inspected city and province officers’ houses, regardless of villagers’ information and their opinion. The authorities believe that more officers are getting blinded by South Korea’s way of living and that they then attempt to cover their illegal acts with their position and power. In compliance with the Central Party’s order to increase enforcement, they announced in public that those officers who had watched South Korean movies have been sentenced to prison at an educational institution.

Patrolmen Order Women, “Take off Your Socks”
Patrolmen’s searches at Hoeryong City security points in the North Hamgyong Province are getting stricter. In the evening they perform searches without any oversight, stopping women who pass by and forcing them to take off their clothes, shoes, even their socks. The inspected women who had disrobed said that they feel contempt and a sense of shame. Jung Eun-shim (31 years old) was upset, stating that “the patrolmen sleep well if they are able to make 50,000 won (about USD $15) in a night, so they are eager to perform searches. They are like parasites feeding off the sweat and blood of the people. I am distraught about this undeserved ill treatment.”

In the National Border Areas, August Inspections for Illegal Recorded Material
From August 7 to August 30, authorities have increased searches for illegal recorded materials and television channels along the national border areas in North Hamgyong Province. Officers in the city and in the village hall announced to residents, “Do not put together a TV receiver and a recorder, do not watch illegal recorded materials, and report anyone who watches or distributes an illegal record or CD to the security office, especially if his material in question is a South Korean movie. They added, if there is a People’s movie produced by an individual, it should be revealed to the security office. Except for a Hana Recording or a Hana Electric CD, and a Mokran CD, all others should be reported. A smuggled recording machine’s usage is prohibited. During this inspection period, if someone turns such a device in voluntarily, they will be forgiven; soon, they will start very severe punishments.

In Hoeryong city, Twenty-Five Arrested by the National Security Agency
In Hoeryong city, the National Security agents arrested twenty-five individuals. Of the twenty-five, three to five were found to be innocent and acquitted, but the rest of the suspects are likely to be sentenced to a severe punishment. Choi Yong-soo in Osan-dong was caught possessing 800g of ‘Ice’ (amphetamines) and USD $9,000. Most of those who were arrested are drug traffickers and seemed to spend more than their income. Han Kwang-sik, who used to be a manager of the foreign currency business office, was arrested last year and sentenced on June 29 to nine years of labor re-education.

A Public Trial for Drug Traffickers Took Place in Manpo City, Jagang Province
The public trial took place for drug trafficker, Kim Joong-suk, and his three accomplices in early August. The defendants sold drugs to their neighbors and attempted to traffic in China. The leader, Kim Joong-suk, was sentenced to life in prison and his three accomplices were sentenced to be re-educated for 7-9 years. During the past couple of years, the traffickers had sold a total of 3,400 kg of drugs. The police officers who protected the illicit business were released from office or discharged for bad conduct.

Violent Incident at an Inspection Point in Shinpo City
An inspector was arrested on August 1 in Shinpo City, South Hamgyong Province because he did not properly inspect a military vehicle. As usual, he stopped the vehicle and asked for the driver’s ID card and destination. The driver said that he was taking a team of patrol officers to Pyongyang. He also provided an identification certificate, which they used to pass any inspection station without showing an ID card. However, the inspector insisted on looking at the passenger’s identification, which upset the driver. The driver then got out of the vehicle, beat the police officer, and left the scene. The police officer was arrested shortly after he had recovered. The police commissioner in Shinpo City was dishonorably discharged because he did not educate his officers about the inspection regulations. This is a case where a strict inspection caused big trouble.

Reshuffle in the Railroad Authority Bureau Expected
Although changing railroad transportation policy has been a top priority, there have been no improvements to the policy. The National Defense Committee has inspected each railroad authority office. They concluded that the officials at the railroad offices did not put any extra effort toward making changes. The central party commanded "We can not let the incapable officers stay at their position. The National Railroad Administration should reshuffle their work force to reorganize operations."



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North Korea Today No. 202

RESEARCH INSTITUTE FOR NORTH KOREAN SOCIETY
No. 202 September 2008
In Kangsuh County, A Crackdown on Private Manufacturing
Hamhung, Textile Factory Workers Are Sent Out To Sell Cotton
Engineers at Pyongyang’s Soonan Airfield Hoard Aircraft Fuel In Order To Survive
Workers of Eunryoul Mine, “Give us unpaid wages”
Wonsan City, The Market For Used Japanese Goods Returns
Workers of Heungnam Chemical Plant Live On Ground Rice Bran to Be Used To Make Soaps
Workers at Gimchaek Shipyard Prefer Squid Fishing
Tractor Parts Factory in Sariwon Demands That Workers Come to Work
Hyesan Residents “will choose a different place to live if smuggling becomes impossible”
The Cabinet’s Decision on “administrative roles of every organization and public Enterprise”




In Kangsuh County, A Crackdown on Private Manufacturing
Since August 1st, the Safety Agency of Kangsuh County, South Pyongan Province has intensified its control on individual craftsman in order to eradicate anti-socialist phenomenon. Kangsuh County is one of the most well-known areas for individual handicraft manufacturing. It is also called the heaven of imitation production.

Choi Yong-cheol, a resident of Kangsuh County hired 15 handicraftsmen and started producing imitation goods. Choi’s employees were paid 4,000 won per day ($1 is around 3,300 NK won). Mr. Choi has made goods with materials illegally hoarded from national factories, such as imitation Cat Cigarettes, and sold the goods wholesale. His business has improved over the past few years and now Choi is considered as one of the richest people in Kangsuh County. The Organization and Guidance Department of County Party (군당조직부) and County Police Station (군보안서) identified Choi as a main suspect for illegal manufacturing. Fourteen officers selected from the security office, public prosecutor and the police formed a special investigative team. The special enforcement officials had a warrant to search the house and have started investigations based on the testimony of Choi's employees. Materials which are national property but which were found at those houses were confiscated and some laborers were arrested. The confiscated merchandise consists of 35 million won (approximately $10,600) worth of goods including 28 packs of Cat cigarettes and 500kgs of leaf tobacco, 35 gunny bags of confectionery, 4 tons of wheat flour, as well as other items.

Hamhung, Textile Factory Workers Are Sent Out To Sell Cotton
Employees of a textile factory in Hamhung City, South Hamgyong Province are scattered all over the country, each of them ordered to sell 100 bundles of cotton per person. The factory’s output had decreased because of the limit on power supply and poor facilities. Eventually, production at the factory ceased, due to the poor quality of its products. The factory workers had recently joined the social mobilization, when it ended on July 25th, they were sent out to sell cotton. The workers were ordered to sell 100 bundles of cotton worth 15,000 won (around $4.55) each. But as the price is too high the quality low, the workers are unlikely to sell their bundles.

Female workers, in groups of two or three people, also went out to sell cotton but they said it was more difficult than they imagined. Jo Seong-ae (age 37) said, “If I sell all the cotton, I can make 1.5 million won (around $455). Even though I cannot sell all the cotton, at least I was going to make back the money I spent for this trip by exchanging cotton for food or buying other goods. However, it is not easy. Now I do not make any money and I am always spending it on inns and meals. Asking favors of relatives does not help either. I will still be able to go home with some money, but I am anxious about the situation."

Engineers at Pyongyang’s Soonan Airfield Hoard Aircraft Fuel In Order To Survive
Soldiers who serve as airplane engineers at an airfield in Soonan District near Pyongyang City have better household conditions than others. These soldiers and their families are able to receive non-glutinous rice (입쌀) and long grain rice ( 안남미). However, their salary of 2,500 won (less than 1 dollar) is not sufficient for their own survival. Although their food supply is secure, they cannot buy a workbook for their children with only their salary. Therefore, there are many engineers who try to steal aircraft fuel. When the soldiers go to work, they bring an oil can which can be filled with 30 to 50kg of oil and fill the can without their superiors finding out. When the engineers leave work, they hand the can to their wives covertly. Then the wives sell the oil to merchants for a price of 1,600 won per 1kg. Hoarding aircraft oil secretly is very difficult so they wait for opportunities very cautiously.

Workers of Eunryoul Mine, “Give us unpaid wages”
Recently, three workers at Eunryoul Mine of South Hwanghae Province fell ill in a single day. They collapsed due to long term starvation and hard labor. A troop of workers who were infuriated went to the management office and angrily demanded, "We cannot be patient anymore, give us unpaid wages and promise a food supply." Up to now, Eunryoul mine has provided wages only once and a food supply only twice.

Wonsan City, The Market For Used Japanese Goods Returns

A market for Japanese used goods in Wonsan City, Kangwon Province, has regained momentum after it nearly closed at the end of June. Ever since trade with Japan ended, used goods such as bicycles, televisions, refrigerators, and washers became scarce, making the merchants who relied on selling these items suffer greatly. However, since the end of June, more and more people have begun making contact with Japanese ships to receive used goods and start selling again. Among these people, there are college students who earn their tuition by selling used goods they receive from importing companies.

Workers of Heungnam Chemical Plant Live On Ground Rice Bran to Be Used To Make Soaps
Recently it came to light that workers at the Heungnam chemical plant had stolen and lived on ground rice bran (쌀미강가루) which is made into soap. Heungnam City had planned to supply soap to every house as the memorial gift on September 9th of this year. However, according to the industry department of The Provincial People's Assembly, there is now a shortage of the raw materials used to make soap. The chemical factory was reluctant to produce soap in the first place, knowing that its hungry workers might steal the rice bran. Because it has been so long since workers last received food rations, theft of the rice bran used to make soap happens very often. The factory manager said, "Although our laborers consume a lot of ground rice bran, it is difficult for us to stop them because we have not supplied any other foods."

Workers at Gimchaek Shipyard Prefer Squid Fishing
As the number of workers not reporting to the work increases because of lack of food rations, Gimchaek shipyard in North Hamgyong Province has allowed workers to go out for squid fishing. Starting on July 28th, shipyard workers can go out to fish for squid, although they must first be inspected by the coast guard. In order to take as many people on board as possible, shipyard workers connect many different types of small ships to one rope and then ultimately to the biggest ship which will tow the smaller ones. Once the fishing is over and workers come back to the shipyard, the directors of each department receive their share of squid as well.

Tractor Parts Factory in Sariwon Demands That Workers Come to Work
“Let’s close ranks and restore production at our factory to invite our general leader.” This is a statement being made by the executives at a factory that manufactures tractor parts in Sariwon City, North Hwanghae Province. They tell even the weak or the ones that are suffering from the food shortage to come to work. Kang Jae-hyuk, 41 years old, says, “When I give reasons for not being able to come to work, my supervisor thinks I am just being lazy and forces me to come to work.” The workers’ general reaction to such a demand is that “executives at the factory cannot sympathize with the workers because their stomachs are full.” “Let us become full, too,” workers say in public.

Hyesan Residents “will choose a different place to live if smuggling becomes impossible”
Residents in Hyesan City, Ryanggang Province, have taken advantage of their location on the national border and have made much of their living from smuggling. So far, because of National Defense Committee inspections and antisocial activities inspections, many cases of train passengers and local police assisting or getting heavily involved in smuggling have been reported, but it is still able to continue. Residents of Hyesan City state that they will “leave the city if smuggling becomes impossible.” As a matter of fact, some people who already earned a lot of money chose to leave the city and go to places like Sariwon City, Hwanghae Province, or Pyongsung City, Southern Pyongan, because of the inspections. There are many other people who want to leave Hyesan city as soon as they earn their fortune from smuggling.

The Cabinet’s Decision on “administrative roles of every organization and public Enterprise”
Cabinet made rule 68 in regards to “administrative roles of every organization and company.” Some of the important topics are as following:
1. Every organization and public enterprise should establish clear administrative regulations and follow them seriously.
2. Every organization and public enterprise should take strong actions against those who lobby to sell goods and those who do not go to work.
3. Because characteristics that are against socialism are often times found among unemployed or lazy people, these people should be well monitored.
4. Punishments are also to be applied to those who do not follow these rules.

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