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North Korea Today No. 238

RESEARCH INSTITUTE FOR NORTH KOREAN SOCIETY
http://www.goodfriends.or.kr/eng
No.238 October 2008

○ “Secure Rice for the Military First even in the Case of Reducing the Farmers’ Share”
○ Farmers Shocked and Angered At the Divestment of their Rations to the Military
○ Farmers are Shocked at the Requirement to Surrender 200 MT of Rice to the Military
○ Honorably Discharged Soldiers Still Receive No Rations
○ Discharged Soldiers Rob Houses before Coming Home
○ [Opinion] Farmers should not be forced to Sacrifice to Reserve Rice for the Military


“Secure Rice for the Military First even in the Case of Reducing the Farmers’ Share”
October 9th, after hearing about the details of this year’s crop situation from the Ministry of Agriculture, the Central Party asked workers in the rear who are under the Support Bureau of the Ministry of the People’s Armed Forces how much food is needed for each army corps. They issued a new order when the workers in the rear front told them that the reserved rice wouldn’t be sufficient this year.

The Central Party issued an order to each city and county that “3-5 months quantity of food out of one year’s amount should be distributed to farmers in the countryside around the nation; collect the rest of the available food to be reserved for the military. The party members should play the central role, taking the lead in collecting the reserved military food.”
Farmers Shocked and Angered At the Divestment of their Rations to the Military
In order to ensure food rations for the army from this year’s crop, the Central Party gave an order to cut food rations to farmers. The Farm Administration Committee of Sariwon City in North Hwanghae Province tried to raise an objection to the Party’s decision, but it was rejected. The Committee claims that if the food ration for farmers is cut and diverted to the military, farmers would not come to work, as happened last year. To avert farmer absenteeism, the Committee requested that the authorities reconsider their decision. Nevertheless, the Committee’s criticism provoked the Central Party and resulted in a member of the committee being brought up for a hearing by the board of inquiry. The officer may be dismissed from his post. In addition, farm officers are perplexed by the authorities’ decision because they know very well how vulnerable the farmers are. Despite dissatisfaction with the authorities, they are compelled to comply with the Party’s order with no complaints. Farmers are full of worries as to how they will manage to live next year if they cannot receive a food ration this year.

Farmers are Shocked at the Requirement to Surrender 200 MT of Rice to the Military
Starting this year, each farm in South Hamgyong Province has been asked to give 100 MT of rice to the military. However, the chairman of a farm management committee at a farm in Hamju County volunteered to give 200 MT, shocking the members of his farm. For the farmers who will rely on the leftover rice for their food supply, the chairman’s promise was terrifying news.

The farmers denounced the chairman and vehemently protested. The committee chairman is facing fierce anger from the residents as he claims there is nothing he can do because he has to follow the order from his superiors.

Honorably Discharged Soldiers Still Receive No Rations
Between the end of September and early October, soldiers who completed their military services in the 10th warning squadron, which is stationed in Nampo city, South Pyongan Province, and an infantry battalion did not receive their food rations even by the last day of army service. On their way home, lunch boxes are not even provided to those soldiers carrying a certificate of discharge. They were saddened, saying “We have served hard for our country for a long period, but we can’t be treated to even a bowl of rice on the last day of military service.”

Discharged Soldiers Rob Houses before Coming Home
Soldiers who were about to be discharged from military service made desperate efforts to steal something, worried about returning home with empty hands. Soldiers discharged from the Army Convoy Unit (호위국) received 2 kg of brown rice and 1 kg of hard biscuits, but most of the soldiers discharged from other units received nothing before returning home. For this reason, some discharged soldiers robbed houses near their base or sometimes even their commander’s house. Jang, Cheol-ho, (age 28), described the atmosphere in the military, “in order to take home rewards after 10 years of military service, many soldiers think about house robbery, even unscrupulously robbing the home of their superior. These soldiers often do more than just think about robbery, performing the acts before leaving the military.”

[Opinion] Farmers should not be forced to Sacrifice to Reserve Rice for the Military
Fall harvest is in full swing in North Korea. However, people in rural areas are already worried about next year’s food shortages. With the absolute lack of food production there is a conflict over the distribution of shares of grain between the military and farmers. The situation is such that an increase in the share for the military is a decrease in the allotment for farmers, while attempts to reserve shares of grain for farmers further reduces the already low military share.

The Central Party issued an order reducing the farmer’s share to 3-5 months worth because of the lack of reserved military shares of grain. This type of policy is very worrisome since it is forcing powerless farmers to make further sacrifices. For instance, an official in Hamju County is receiving strong opposition from farmers because of his announcement that farmers will give a larger amount of grain to the military than what was requested.

Even last year many farms throughout the country were not able to provide distribution quantity to farmers. Many farms in Bahkchun County North Pyongan Province distributed only a two-month quantity. As a result, hunger stricken farmers could not perform the seeding this spring. Instead of farm work, the farmers roamed around the mountains and fields to collect grass so that they could survive on grass porridge. In addition, many deaths from hunger occurred at the farms in Hwanghae Province. This year, farmers had more serious food shortage problems than any other people and barely survived.

Therefore, this Central Party's policy is basically asking North Korean farmers to survive the whole year with only 3 months worth of food. Asking the farmers who have been barely surviving on grass porridge to sustain their lives the same way for another year is simply too harsh. The reason why some farm officials have already distributed rice before they received the order to collect the military’s rice was due to the existing poor conditions. The farm officials should not consider their distribution to be a political action against the party’s policy. On the contrary, the party’s policy that forces the farmers to make unilateral sacrifices is something that undermines the spirit of equality between the military and the people.

The reserve rice for the military can be supplemented at any time when there is a surplus. However, farmers, who have to receive 1 year’s-worth of distribution in the fall, do not have a chance to supplement the food until the next cycle. Moreover, it is not easy for most farmers to open a private business, and traffic inconveniences and a lack of reasonable means of transportation makes it difficult to receive food aid from outside local areas.

Of course, we understand that the food situation in the military is a very serious one. But North Korean authorities can only solve their problem if they first ensure the livelihood of farm households. Farmers need to be the first priority, because if they are unable to cultivate their fields due to hunger, there is no guarantee that there will be food at the next year's harvest time. We urge the North Korean government to resolve the food shortage by increasing food imports and to also be more aggressive in its search for outside food aid.

North Korea Today No. 237

RESEARCH INSTITUTE FOR NORTH KOREAN SOCIETY
No.237 October 2008
○ Pyongyang City’s Population Reduction Act Receives the Cold Shoulder
○ Train Services Suspend in Chungjin-Onsung by the Central Party
○ Five Women Publicly Executed for Human Trafficking
○ Sariwon City Executes Drug Offenders
○ An Improper Remark in a Drinking Party results in Disappearance of the Whole Family

Pyongyang City’s Population Reduction Act Receives the Cold Shoulder
In October, Pyongyang city gave an order promoting “rural settlement” to help alleviate its population size but the people are paying little or no attention. Although the city is offering additional incentives to move to the rural settlements, people remain unaffected about the offer. They are worried that trying to make a living in a new town would be even more difficult than staying in Pyongyang and feel that it is not a necessary risk to take.

Even with the shortage of food, electricity, water, gas, fuel, and transportation in Pyongyang city, its situation is still better than the rural areas. From their point of view, those who live in the city are at least able to afford some corn porridge, while in the rural areas people make survive only on grass porridge. The people respond with rage at the authorities’ attempt to move them out of the city boundaries.
Train Services Suspend in Chungjin-Onsung by the Central Party
On October 14, train services linking Chungjin to Onsung were suspended. The Central Party performed train inspections, which resulted in the ban on commuter train services to the Railroad Bureau of the North Hamgyong Province. The reason for the ban was that when the Central Party made the train services free for the village students to use for commuting to school from distant areas, the station workers took advantage of the situation in an attempted to make pocket money.

However, local authorities justified their actions saying, “Where do we get money for fuel if we are to provide the train service free of charge? With the rising fuel costs and the cost of maintaining the trains, there are many expenses related to providing the train service. The local authorities cannot afford all the expenses after providing free train services to students. There is nothing left for us to do except to charge higher fares to the regular paying customers”.

Five Women Publicly Executed for Human Trafficking
On the afternoon of October 8, there was a public execution on five women accused of human trafficking in Hoeryong city of North Hamgyong Province. These women were convicted of selling 5-to-10 year old children across the border to China, each for 1,600 Yuan. Among the convicted was a woman who sold her own child. The families of the convicted were not allowed to witness the execution. After the execution, the North Korean National Security merely notified the family of their death, citing the Law of the Republic.

Meanwhile, the families of the executed petitioned to the municipal government and then to the central government claiming that “the crime was not death penalty worthy”. The families promised revenge by saying, “We will make sure the security members who are responsible for the execution resigns”. However, the municipal government insisted that the execution decision was made solely according to the Law of the Republic and have not responded to the petition.

Sariwon City Executes Drug Offenders
On October 11, in Sariwon City, North Hwanghae Province, publicly executed a drug offender around 4 pm. One of four people who received an open trial was publicly executed while the rest received 11 years of sentences. They were convicted of handling and selling drugs to mid-level staff members of Pyongyang City.

During the three-month trial, some of the staff showed symptoms of drug addiction, even pressuring Sariwon Police station to release the accused. Pyongyang City authorities are trying to decide whether the addicted city staff should be excommunicated or receive another punishment.

An Improper Remark in a Drinking Party results in Disappearance of the Whole Family
In Songjeong-ri, Liewon County of South Hamgyong Province, party secretary of Songjeong-ri, Mr. Jeong Taek-soo and his family disappeared overnight after some misspoken words during a personal drinking party. Mr. Jeong has a good reputation among the Songjeong-ri residents for his role in significantly improving the daily life of its residents. Every autumn, when inspectors from central government came for inspections, he would take good care of them. As a result, even though it was a kept secret, compared to other areas Songjeong-ri residents received bigger shares of the government allotment.

Last October 2, early evening, Jeong in a personal drinking party said, “The reason why Songjeong-ri has less worries about shortage of foods and doing better than other areas is because I have performed good business. We need to have a person who is more capable of running business, this way we will have less suffering and our country as a whole will get better”. People who know him well said that after those remarks, Jeong’s whole family disappeared. They believe that he was taken to a holding cell because of his counter-revolutionary remarks.

North Korea Today No. 236

RESEARCH INSTITUTE FOR NORTH KOREAN SOCIETY
http://www.goodfriends.or.kr/eng
No. 236 October 2008
Members of Democratic Women’s Union (DWU) Mobilized for Census
Soochun City, the Fight for Ideology Targeting Members of DWU Who Missed the Fall Mobilization
Members of Hamheung DWU, Making Daily Earning by Stealing Pure Grain from the Mobilization
Examination on a Venereal Disease in the Pohang District of Chungjin City
Sharp Increase of Patients with Contagious Diseases in Military Unit in Pyongwon County


Members of Democratic Women’s Union (DWU) Mobilized for Census
A census of the population is taken on a national basis and mainly members of Democratic Women’s Union (녀맹원들) are mobilized for this work. Each city and county gave lectures on census to members of the DWU in village (dong) offices and others who were mobilized to assist with the census. These workers make rounds to every area and count the number of households. They classify missing persons as a border-crosser (도강자), a missing person, or deceased, and excluded them from the number of residents.

Kim Myong-hwa (age 43) who takes a census of Maengsan County of South Pyoungan Province was proud of working for the dear leader Kim and the country saying, “This work is to find out exact number of people in my country.”
Soochun City, the Fight for Ideology Targeting Members of DWU Who Missed the Fall Mobilization
In Soonchun City of South Pyoungan Province, members of the DWU of every village office were mobilized to tie up rice-sheaves. However, there were many members of the DWU who missed the mobilization work because of family problem and they received the fight for Ideology (사상투쟁). On October 9, the labor secretary of the city party and the chairperson of the city DWU met at the Kangan-dong office of Soonchun city and noted that many members of DWU do not participate in the mobilization work. They blamed Ideology looseness as the cause of this and called for the fight for Ideology. Members of DWU who ever missed the mobilization were brought the front of the Leader’s Group Altar (주석단) and forced to criticize each other. There were some members of DWU who paid 1,500~2,500 NK won per day and skipped the mobilization work.

Members of Hamheung DWU, Making Daily Earning by Stealing Pure Grain from the Mobilization
Members of the DWU in the Yeokjeon-dong office (역전동사무소) of Seongchun river District, Hamheung city of South Hamgyong Province make daily meals by stealing cereals while they work for fall mobilization. As the number of DWU who steal pure grain increases, it is reported to the upper party that there is serious damage on the cereal crops due to thieves. The party warned, “members of DWU who stole the farm produce will be punished strictly by the law regardless of reasons.”

Examination on a Venereal Disease in the Pohang District of Chungjin City
In Namgang 1-dong and 2-dong of Pohang District of Chungjin City, North Hamgyong Province, there was an examination on a venereal disease. An inspection team consist of doctors in hospitals of Provincial Medical School and Pohang District went door to door from 6 a.m. and tested whether any residents have syphilis or not.

This checkup is planned to limit the spread of contagious venereal diseases. Several syphilitics were found at Namgang 1-dong and are under treatment. People related to these patients are also hospitalized and tested for the venereal disease. North Hamgyong Province reported this result to the central party and warned for the possibilities that other regions might have the same situation.

Sharp Increase of Patients with Contagious Diseases in Military Unit in Pyongwon County
On last October 3, 24 soldiers with tubercle, pleurisy and hepatitis were hospitalized in the military unit of Pyongwon County, South Pyongan Province. Soldiers who stayed longer than six months were discharged from military service and sent back home because it is thought that their diseases are difficult to cure. The hospital is overcrowded with patients. A room for 15 patients is accommodating over 40 patients. Strong ones took the bed and weak ones lie on the floor with a blanket.

Every morning patients with tubercle receive 5 pills of isoniazid which is a tubercle preventive medicine but effectiveness is unknown because of serious malnutrition. About seven people per month die from hemoptysis caused by tubercle or from severe high fever in this hospital. On the other hand, patients with other diseases receive first-aid medicine such as streptomycin from their own family, or they give money to doctors and receive medicines.

North Korea Today No. 235

RESEARCH INSTITUTE FOR NORTH KOREAN SOCIETY
No. 235 October 2008
At Hamheung Branch of National Sciences Institute Food Rationing Resumed After Almost a Year
Areas along the Coastline in North Hamgyong Province Harvest Less Agricultural Crop than Last Year
Booguh-ri Farm in Chungjin Barely Harvests 1.2 MT of Corn
A Resident of Kangwon Province Traveled All the Way Up To Chungjin to Die
Yeechun Army Training Center Trades Tank Fuel with Food


At Hamheung Branch of National Sciences Institute Food Rationing Resumed After Almost a Year
Hamheung branch of National Sciences Institute, South Hamgyong Province resumed food rationing after almost a year on occasion of 10.10 Anniversary. Ration included rice, ground corn, and flour, in the amount equivalent to half a month’s ration, together with 1 kg of bean sprout, a bottle of soy oil, five duck eggs and three packs of “Baeksan” cigarette. Due to a year’s suspension of food rationing, many scientists got involved in commercial activities and produced narcotics as a means of survival, which drew a close watch by the authorities.

Recently many scientists with degrees of masters and doctorates produced ‘ice (amphetamine)’ and got arrested while trying to sell it to dealers. While ordinary people arrested on charges of producing ‘ice’ received severe penalties, the scientists ended up receiving only stern warnings, in consideration of food crisis, with all the materials and equipments used in production of ‘ice’ confiscated by the authorities.
Areas along the Coastline in North Hamgyong Province Harvest Less Agricultural Crop than Last Year
According to the final report on the harvest of North Hamgyong Province, areas such as cities of Gimchaek and Chungjin along the coastline harvested less than last year. Areas such as City of Hoeryong, counties of Saebyul and Eunduk were expected to have good harvests this year, but frosts during September caused crop reduction of corn. The overall harvest seems to be less than the last year’s. The region reported to the provincial party that there would not be any farm that meets the expected amount of harvested crop.

Booguh-ri Farm in Chungjin Barely Harvests 1.2 MT of Corn
Team 5 of the Second Work Unit, Booguh-ri Farm, Chungarm District, City of Chungjin of North Hamgyong Province harvested 1.2 MT of corn. This particular field used to produce five to six MT on average, and minimum 3 MT per 1 Jungbo (unit of area, 1 Jungbo is 2.45acres, and 3,000 Pyong). This year’s crop of much less than half the usual disappointed many farm workers. A farm worker claimed that this year’s poor crop was caused not by the weather but by lack of fertilizer in the spring.

A Resident of Kangwon Province Traveled All the Way Up To Chungjin to Die
Early October, a dead body was found at a trash collection site in City of Chungjin, North Hamgyong Province. Autopsy results identified the body as a male resident in his fifties of Tongchun, Kangwon Province. Further investigations revealed that he had lost his wife due to starvation and disease. He has been looking for his two daughters, ages of seventeen and nineteen, who left home to seek food.

According to his neighbors, he left home after receiving the younger daughter’s words that they were in Chungjin. He was determined to live together with them no matter what. According to peddlers in Soonam market, he has been begging for food more than twenty days and apparently, he collapsed after he was worn out. Considering there is no sign of external wound in the body, the authorities presume that he died of starvation.

Yeechun Army Training Center Trades Tank Fuel with Food
A tank battalion of Yeechun Army Training Center in Kangwon Province conducted a field exercise called “Storm Operation” sometime ago. This battalion ran out of food supply and traded tank fuel with food this spring. This caused many tanks unable to participate in the field exercise. They tried to borrow some tank fuel from the neighboring farms, but it was insufficient. The assessors from the Defense Ministry had to exclude some tanks not ready to participate from the exercise.

North Korea Today No. 234

RESEARCH INSTITUTE FOR NORTH KOREAN SOCIETY
http://www.goodfriends.or.kr/eng
No. 234 October 2008
The Accidental Death of a Discharged Soldier
A Homeless Boy Dies in a Train Incident
Fire in Home Results in Stricter Fuel Sales
Army Base Loses 600 kg of Fuel Due To Fire
A Dispatched Construction Worker Deserts His Assignment
A Son’s Death Destroys His Family


The Accidental Death of a Discharged Soldier
A female soldier, who had recently been discharged from the military, fell from a train and died on her way to Pyongyang on September 21.

Earlier, when the train crew checked her ticket, she showed her discharge certificate and said "I am going back to my hometown. I did not buy the ticket." The train crew tried to force her to buy a ticket. The disagreement led to a fight between the two of them. When the train crew was losing the fight, other workmen rushed to the scene and forcibly pushed her out of the train. Although the train was running at a slow speed, she ended up breaking two legs and had massive bleeding. She died one hour after she was taken to the hospital. This incident was reported to the central office, leading to the arrest of the train crew. All other train workmen were dishonorably discharged from the work, as they shared responsibility for her death.

A Homeless Boy Dies in a Train Incident
Around 6:00 pm on September 27, a homeless boy was pinned under sacks of corn on the train returning to Chungjin city from Kyongsung city, North Hamgyong Province. The train was packed with passengers as well as goods. Four soldiers got on the corner of the train, which seemed empty and dark, with three 50 kg sacks of corns. They pushed their way through the crowd and sat down, only noticing later on that they were sitting on someone. They held up the light from a cigarette lighter and found the homeless boy, groaning in pain under the corn sacks. The soldiers were flustered and removed the sacks to look at the boy. He was unable to make a sound because of his crushed head and his nose and mouth were bleeding continuously. His face was covered with blood. Shortly after the soldiers found the unconscious child, the train stopped to take him to the hospital. However, he died even before physicians had a chance to look at the boy.

Fire in Home Results in Stricter Fuel Sales
On September 26, in the Pohang District located in the city of Chungjin of North Hamgyong Province, a fire started in the home of Lim Jong-cheol (38 years old) in the middle of the night. Despite the efforts of fire rescue workers, the Lim couple and their children died in the blaze. Thankfully, the quick response allowed the firefighters to put out the fire quickly and prevent it from spreading to neighboring homes. Lim has been selling oil and thus had stocked up fuel and diesel in his home, resulting in this accident. Due to this tragic event, the government has begun to watch the selling of gas starting on September 29.

Army Base Loses 600 kg of Fuel Due To Fire
An army vehicle caught on fire at a service station in the Chungarm District located in the city of Chungjin during the afternoon of September 29. When the car garage caught on fire, two firetrucks and another standby vehicle arrived at the scene. Three soldiers who worked to put out the fire have suffered severe burns and are in a coma. This fire has resulted in a loss of radishes, cabbages, and 600kg of fuel that were stocked for autumn combat supplies.

A Dispatched Construction Worker Deserts His Assignment
The Urban Construction Enterprise (UCE) located in Yeansa County, North Hamgyong Province had been petitioned in mid-August to send two workers to the construction site of the Samsu power plant at Mt. Baekdu. As no one volunteered for these positions, manager-level officials decided to provide those workers who were to be selected with an extra cash reward. After discussions, two workers were eventually selected and each person received a bonus of 200,000 NK won. However, the workers who were sent in mid-August have not yet arrived at the Samsu construction site and the UCE has been under constant pressure to supply personnel. Families of these selected workers said that they had already left but Samsu office claimed that they have not yet arrived. Furthermore, authorities continue to press the UCE to swiftly dispatch the personnel. UCE officials are in a tough situation; they already collected money from other workers to reward the previously selected people so it will be difficult for them to afford the reward. In addition, it cannot be guaranteed that newly picked workers would not run away.

A Son’s Death Destroys His Family
Jang Deuk-sin, a 29-year old resident of Danchun in South Hamgyong Province, recently came back home from his 10-year military service. During his service, Jang was unable to visit his family when his father was in a critical condition and even missed his father’s funeral because he could not afford traveling expenses. Jang returned to his family with deep sorrow about his father’s death and received a tearful and warm welcome from his mother and sister. His mother, who was weak from hunger, has been taken care of by his sister. All three family members embraced each other and wailed with deep sorrow about their bitter memories.

Due to the strained living situation, Jang visited and entreated the Municipal Party to help his family. After several visits, the Municipal Party assigned Jang to a nearby coal mine with some advice concerning self-reliance. The coal mine where Jang was assigned was too far from his home to commute, so he had to stay in a boarding house. Since he lived far away from his family, he could not take care of his mother and sister. Jang desperately petitioned the secretary of the Party’s Organization and Guidance and implored him to save his mother. Despite his efforts, Jang was informed that there was no way to help him. In desperation, Jang drank to excess on that night and it caused a heart attack.

After a short period of joy from having her son back, Jang’s mother mourned over her son’s sudden death. A few days later, the mother who was overcome with deep grief finally hung herself. The grieving sister, who was left alone, spoke out about her family’s tragic death, “If Party authorities showed a bit of concern, neither my mother nor my brother would have suddenly died.” The security authorities who heard of her sorrow arrested Jang’s sister for humiliating the Party and warned people, “they are a rebellious family. Do not circulate the story among others.”

North Korea Today No. 233

RESEARCH INSTITUTE FOR NORTH KOREAN SOCIETY
http://www.goodfriends.or.kr/eng
No. 233 October 2008

The Residents of Kaesong City Except for Those inside Kaesong Industrial Complex Are Experiencing Serious Food Shortage
Exemplary workers in Pyongyang Engage in Local Trading
Gimchaek Still Mill in Chungjin Has Completed Rationing In Early October
“Don’t just say wounded veterans will be given with Special Treatment’”
A Rumor of Increasing Rice Price up to 5,000 NK won Next Year Has People Disturbed
[Opinion] Expectations for a New Transition in the US-North Korea Relations


The Residents of Kaesong City Except for Those inside Kaesong Industrial Complex Are Experiencing Serious Food Shortage
The food shortage situation is very serious among the residents of Kaesong city. The people say in consensus, "With the exception of people inside the Kaesong Industrial District (Kaesong Industrial Complex) the food situation is unimaginably difficult." The people in rural towns can at least eat porridge because they handle the crops. However, in the case of mining town with heavy population concentration all they have are rocks. Therefore, it is impossible for them to obtain food without assistance from outside. Sambong-ri and Hwagok-ri are mining towns, and people in these towns are barely surviving on few kernels of corn.
Exemplary workers in Pyongyang Engage in Local Trading
In September, Pyongyang city distributed 10 days’ food rations to its residents. Those living in the central district are able to stock up 6 months’ food, while people in the outer area must divide 10 days’ ration into 30 daily rations. Their conditions are worse than some local residents. Due to the age limit for trade, more tightly controlled than any other city, those who do not receive rations or wages must live in harsh living conditions. That is why the exemplary workers admired by colleagues at work often skip their work and engage in local trade. Usually they go to nearby Pyongsung market, sometimes alone or sometimes in a group of three or four, by a car rented with pooled money

During the harvest season, only those who are older than 55 years can do trade in Pyongyang city. Market managers and officers inspect trader’s identification card everyday. Residents go to a market after farming mobilization, usually crowding the grocery display spaces, leaving clothing or other miscellaneous display spaces relatively quiet.

Gimchaek Still Mill in Chungjin Has Completed Rationing In Early October
Gimchaek Still Mill in Chungjin city of North Hamgyong Province has received corn from the farm and distributed 15 days’ ration, thus completing a full month’s rationing. However, some workshops could not distribute allocated quota due to shortage of corns received. It occurred because of a miscalculation of rations based on the production quota of a cornfield per a unit of work, a total number of workers and their family members. The amount of corn received from the farm was far below the amount expected by the factory. The workers who have received their full portion seem satisfied while those who received less than full portion had many complaints.

“Don’t just say wounded veterans will be given with Special Treatment’”
There is a company hiring wounded soldiers at Gimchaek, North Hamgyong Province. This factory employs disabled veterans injured in accidents or through carelessness during their military service. They have not received any food distributions this entire year and are facing much difficulty. Many workers do not go to work as there has not been food distributed even after the harvest. When some disabled soldiers sent a letter to the City Party to request food, the Party responded to them saying that the company was told to “Provide the soldiers with special treatment.” However, there have been no follow-up actions as the soldier’s discontent continues to rise.

Lee Seok-joong (41) criticized saying, “Officials of the city should reconsider the problems and work hard for the food distribution, but they are just concerned with themselves.” He sincerely appealed to the City Party for aid, “Although we have requested several times, they did not respond. Don’t just say ‘provide disabled veterans with special treatment,’ give us food. How can we survive if the City Party does not help disabled veterans who got injured for their nation? Since the situation was too tough and sad to endure, we just cried and yelled together.”

A Rumor of Increasing Rice Price up to 5,000 NK won Next Year Has People Disturbed
As members of the Democratic Women’s Union are participating in farming mobilization for harvest at North Hamgyong Province, a rumor has widely spread among them: ‘Because they failed this year’s harvest, the price of corn will be 3,000 NK won and the price of rice will be over 5,000 NK won next year.’ This rumor seriously disturbed these women who can barely endure difficulties of their current situation. Kim Keum-dan (34) living in Sariwon said, “This is just a rumor”; she deplored and said, “We have only barely survived by eating gruel with grass this year and we are exhausted. If this situation gets even worse next year, we will surely die.” Song Hwa-ja (41) was envious of people who went to China and said, “We can rarely contribute money to our nation, and we cannot live if the prices of crops increase. I want to find every possible way to feed my children white rice before I die. I heard that people living in northern areas went to China by crossing the border and they are able to make money as much as they put in effort. If only…”

[Opinion] Expectations for a New Transition in the US-North Korea Relations
The United States had decided to remove North Korea from a list of state sponsors of terrorism after 20 years. There are many strong criticisms stating that the U.S. voluntarily violated the principles of North Korean nuclear problems, that the U.S. made excessive concessions, or that the U.S. succumbed to North Korea’s cliff-hanging diplomatic maneuvers. Some are also worry that it would serve as a bad diplomatic precedence for countries like Iran, while others express their concerns about the South Korean government’s loss of influence in the North and South Korean relations. Nevertheless, the United States has carried out what was agreed at the six-party talk between the U.S. and North Korea based on the bilateral principle. It is not an excess concession or a type of surrender on the part of the U.S.

As such, one should not use their own personal political stand to misinterpret or over-exaggerate the implications of this action. For the last 3 years, the relation between The U.S. and North Korea have at times been like walking on thin ice or driving through heavy fog and have come a long way to get to this point. It is nearly a miracle to have come this far. Therefore, it is not possible to declare any one side a “winner” or “loser” considering all that has happened between them.

The fact that the two countries are continuing the dialog is a big step forward considering that the two counties never hesitate to bluntly express their distrust of each other. On top of North Korea’s test firing of missiles and nuclear testing, some U.S. government officials’ claim of using force to bring about regime change in North Korea raised the possibility of war in the Korean peninsular, and created fear among many people. Now, after all those confrontations the two countries are making efforts to reach mutual agreement through compromise instead of unilateral victory for one. Today’s mutual agreement was achieved based on the realization that hostile confrontations can never bring peace in Northeast Asia. On that regard, removing North Korea from the list of state sponsors of terrorism is a big progress toward building mutual trust.

Despite several unresolved issues the U.S. and North Korea should take more mature stance and work together to bring about denuclearization, peace settlement, and normalization of relations. Under the bilateral principle, the agreed items within the frame of six-party talk should be carried out one by one. The problems we should be concerned about are not limited to the nuclear issues. There are many other issues that need to be resolved such as the food shortage problem, economic aid, exchanges and cooperation, human rights issues, and peace settlement.

The transition in the relationship between North Korea and the U.S. and subsequent staging of North Korea in the international community is an important concern to the international community. The international community is on the look out to see what will be the impact of removal of North Korea from the list of state sponsors of terrorism on North Korean society, and what influence it will have on the political situation in Northeast Asia. So far, North Korea has blamed outside for all of its internal problems. Now, the ball is back in North Korea’s court. We look forward to seeing North Korea taking a little more flexible and responsible attitude in the international community.

North Korea Today No. 232

RESEARCH INSTITUTE FOR NORTH KOREAN SOCIETY
http://www.goodfriends.or.kr/eng
No. 232 October 2008

Soonchun Cement Factory Holds a General Meeting
6.18 Inspection Strong at the Local Railway Bureau in South and North Hamgyong Province
South Hamgyong Province Mobilizes Its Own Inspection Team for Drug Offenders
College students arrested while at the farm for trying to make drugs
A Severe Outbreak of Roundworm among Women Prisoners at the Jeonguhri Re-Education Center
Decision on the Relocation of Hoeryong Railroad Station by the End of Next Year

Soonchun Cement Factory Holds a General Meeting
Last September 29, a cement factory located in Soonchun City, South Pyongan. Province, held a general meeting reporting the results of an inspection that took place. The inspection found that the workers at the factory took several thousands MT of cement for their own use between February and September 2008. Workers took the most amounts during the three months period after March when rations were not distributed.
6.18 Inspection Strong at the Local Railway Bureau in South and North Hamgyong Province
Inspection agents visited the local Railway Bureau in South and North Hamgyong Province to start a 6.18 Inspection. The inspectors checked every details, including whether the trains were operating at the scheduled times and the cleanness of the train, to catch those who are engaging in anti-socialism activities. Each station prepared well for the inspections, but was not able to completely avoid the scrutiny of the inspectors. The sales of train ticket were the most problematic. The national price for a ticket is 320 NK won, but it has been a while since tickets have been sold for as low as 5,000 NK won and as high as 8,000 NK won. This is not a unique problem of Hamgyong Province but a nationwide problem. The station agents who did not pass the inspection were suspended from working.

South Hamgyong Province Mobilizes Its Own Inspection Team for Drug Offenders
Between August 29 and September 27, South Hamgyong Province recruited people from the party, police stations, and prosecutors offices to create an inspection team for drug offenders. Ninety-two drug-related incidents have been reported during this period and a public court hearing was held September 30. On this day, the court ordered 6 months of municipal discipline center (시단련대) to 11 people, discipline center under the Safety (Police) Agency (보안성 단련대) for five people, and 5-10 years of Labor Re-Education Center 15 people.

College students arrested while at the farm for trying to make drugs
On October 4, four third-year medical students who left for volunteer activities at the cooperative farmlands in the Hamju County of South Hamgyong Province were arrested for the suspicion of drug production. Tools and experimental medicines used to make drugs were collected and students were transferred to a provincial police station. Following this incident, all the rooms of other college students were inspected as well.

A Severe Outbreak of Roundworm among Women Prisoners at the Jeonguhri Re-Education Center
The health conditions of the women prisoners at the Jeonguhri (전거리) Re-Education Center in Hoeryong City, in the North Hamgyong Province, is becoming very serious. Because there is so little to eat, the prisoners eat any raw items for food. Therefore, they have many roundworms. The roundworms from the stomach sometimes go up through the prisoners’ esophagus and out of their mouth. The worm problem is not easily treatable or preventable because the prisoners eat raw crops such as cabbage, tofu bean, or radish, without properly cleaning them.

Decision on the Relocation of Hoeryong Railroad Station by the End of Next Year
On September 24, the decision of the relocation and construction of a new Hoeryong Railroad Station in the North Hamgyong Province was confirmed in a roundtable meeting of all interested parties including the Prime Minister and the director of the National Railroad Ministry. It was decided that the Office would send the strongest shock troops to complete the relocation construction by December 24 of next year.

The Cabinet will provide necessary equipments, materials, and transportation. Gomoosan Cement Factory in Chungjin will be re-opened to support the cement provision for constructing the new station. Ranam mine machinery factory in Chungjin and Hoeryong mine machinery factory will supply steels and other raw materials. After the decision was made, the Vice Director of the Railroad Ministry visited Hoeryong City to look around the existing station and the relocation site. He instructed to remove 220 houses in the new site, Kangan-dong, by the April of 2009.

North Korea Today No. 231

RESEARCH INSTITUTE FOR NORTH KOREAN SOCIETY
http://www.goodfriends.or.kr/eng
No. 231 October 2008

“Having an athletic meet is a waste of food”
Inspection on education system in North Hamgyong Province
Kindergarten Children's Homework, Bringing Fifty Corns with the Cob To school
Children of Kangan Kindergarten with Food Poison
The Homeless Died from Eating Dead Dog
Every school is Busy with Supporting Farm



“Having an athletic meet is a waste of food”
On last September 24th, a kindergarten of Chungarm district, Chungjin city, North Hamgyoung Province has a fall athletic meet (운동회). Because parents were busy with farming, teachers took children to the mountain and enjoy the picnic as well as the simple athletic meet. However, this event was reported to the city education department and the director of the kindergarten and four teachers were dismissed and also dispatched to a collective farm. The teachers asked for favor but the education department punished them strictly saying, “Not teaching children but having athletic meet is a waste of food.” In the mean time, the athletic meet is considered as a political agitation, it should be ratified by the senior party.

Inspection on education system in North Hamgyong Province

On October 1st, the party of North Hamgyong Province started inspection on education system of the province. Each school collected money from students to lobby inspectors but it caused a problem. Schools say that faling in feasting inspectors give me hard times so we cannot neglect it. However, parents complain that “why do we have to take the burden? If the party does not send inspectors to make schools better, then do not dispatch them.”

Kindergarten Children's Homework, Bringing Fifty Corns with the Cob To school
A Kindergarten in Sariwon of North Hwanghae Province gave students homework of bringing 50 corns with the cob and it provoked criticism of parents. Kim Soon-boon (age 31) said, “Being parents is not a fault. Why do schools ask for things all the time? It asked fifty corns with the cob this time. When we do not have a piece of rice to eat, how can they ask about fifty corns with the cob? Junior high schools also asked for 20 corns with the cob for each student. Mothers say that they are not sending children to the school. Even five corns are too much for kindergarten children. Fifty corns do not make sense at all.” Some parents rant to the kindergarten and shouted and cursed to the teachers.

Children of Kangan Kindergarten with Food Poison
On September 25th, children of Kangan kindergarten in Soonchun city, South Pyoungan Province were poisoned with food. On that day, only soup was provided to the children but weaker children started loosing bowels with vomit therefore saw a doctor. Doctors who checked children said the food poison might be from soup which went bad. As soon as it finds out that the children had food poison, the director of the kindergarten called workers in close area and made them carry children to the hospital and all the children were hospitalized. Twenty-third out of thirty children were proved as poisoned by food and two of them died in a day. The teacher who made the soup was dismissed right away.

The Homeless Died from Eating Dead Dog
On September 28th, the homeless (Kkotjebis) in Wonsan city of Kangwon Province ate dead dog with boiling it and died after. A group of five homeless ate a dog dead with rat poison and suffered from stomach ache and died. When the boys crying for help, nobody helped them. The corpses of the children were buried in an empty lot of the outskirts on the next day.

Every school is Busy with Supporting Farm
Every school is becoming busier as the farm- mobilization period of fall comes. Including the medical school of Chungjin city, North Hamgyong Province, other colleges and junior high schools collected 2,000 NK won from every student to cover the bus fee. Students of teacher's college and engineering college in Hyesan city, Ryanggang Province were mobilized to pick up potatoes at farms in Baekarm and Samjiyeon. Students cannot go back to their place until they meet the assigned quota.

North Korea Today No. 230

RESEARCH INSTITUTE FOR NORTH KOREAN SOCIETY
http://www.goodfriends.or.kr/eng
No. 230 October 2008

Instructions on Taking the Accurate Census of the Population on October 1
North Hamgyong Province Starts Food Rationing From October
North Hamgyong Province Calls a Plenary Meeting to Discuss “How to Do Fall Harvest Well”
Fall Is the Season to Steal Grain
Different Penalties Depending on who got killed for Stealing Corn
Loose Clothes Is the Best for Stealing Grain
Everyone Invites Elderly Parents Home as Guardians of Grain
Instructions on Taking the Accurate Census of the Population on October 1
On October 1, every city and county in the nation received from the Central Party instructions on taking accurate census of the population. Thus began the national census project in full swing. Statistical data are collected in detail by gender, age, educational level, labor party membership, membership of Socialist Working Youth League, place of employment and rank. It is reported that this census project started at the request of United Nations.

North Hamgyong Province Starts Food Rationing From October
Since beginning of October, North Hamgyong Province started rationing food supply in various regions of the province. North Hamgyong Province received whole corn (통옥수수) and wheat through the port of Chungjin and distributed them to the laborers and soldiers mobilized to the road construction for Baekdu Mountain tourism and also to orphanages in the cities and counties.

North Hamgyong Province Calls a Plenary Meeting to Discuss “How to Do Fall Harvest Well”
Provincial Party of North Hamgyong Province instructed all the city and county parties in the province to call plenary meetings by October 6. They were to discuss the general mobilization for the fall harvest that started October 1 and the various methods handed down from the higher party line. In response, all the city and county parties called plenary meetings and had discussions of the major topic from the top: “It is important to manage farming well at this time of food crisis, but it is more important to manage the fall harvest well.”

City party of Chungjin declared at the plenary meeting, “Factories, public enterprises, Dong offices, Women’s Unions, educational institutions should all participate fully in the fall harvest activities and prepare compost for the next year’s farming. Fertilizer supply is expected to be less than favorable next year and consequently, every workers and women’s unionist should prepare 30 kg of compost during this mobilization period. Physicians in the health care sector are to participate in the harvest on Sundays only and opening of market is to be delayed from two to four P.M. so that everyone can participate in the morning in the general mobilization.”

Fall Is the Season to Steal Grain

Throughout the nation, as the fall harvest is in full swing, so is the thievery of grain.
The workers at the farms of Moosoo-ri, Buryong County of North Hamgyong Province try their best to steal ears of corn and bring them home. Farm managers keep warning them, “Keep your hands off. Severe penalties otherwise, without any results.

Han Mi-sook (41) says, “We eat only potatoes three times a day. I have been told that if I cause any harm toward the harvest, I would be sent to a labor training camp (노동단련대). However, it would be better to be sent to a training camp than to become physically feeble because of starvation. I really do not have anything to be scared of.” She refuses to stop stealing ears of corn. Ms. Han says that when she steals ears of corn, she could be discovered rather easily. Therefore, she removes corn from the cob and hides them in the belt she wears around her chest. Some of her friends got caught doing it and received six months sentence in labor training camp.

Farms of Jungpyong County, South Hamgyong Province are suffering from losses due to the thievery of rice plants. After dark, soldiers and workers cut the ripe rice plants down and take them home. Damages to the crop extend to several hundreds of pyeongs of land overnight. Farm managers believe the situation got much worse this year in comparison to last year. However, severe punishment was not effective at all because there’s nothing for people to eat.

Park Suk-ho (48), a team leader at a farm in Bongchun County, South Hwanghae Province took out 2 MT of corn with the help of farm workers of three teams. He claims that he intended to release the corn later when the food situation gets much worse. However, his storage site was discovered by security agents and he was arrested on a charge of “causing damage to the harvest and thievery.”

Different Penalties Depending on who got killed for Stealing Corn
Farms of Shipo City, South Hamgyong Province have their team leaders mobilize all the team workers in guarding their cornfields. Even though the guards pay attention, the corn disappears from the field so rapidly that the guards usually stay edgy and feel stressful.

On October 2, a laborer of Yanghwa Fisheries Enterprise was caught stealing corn and was beaten by the guards and died as a result. Yanghwa Fisheries Enterprise strongly protested, claiming that, “Even if one gets caught stealing, one does not deserve to get beaten to death for stealing some corn. We realize that even a grain should be treated dearly. But beating someone to death is going too far.” Authorities arrested three farm guards as culprits. Farm Management Council declared that they feel responsible and offered some corn and rice and some cash to the victim’s family as a token of goodwill.

About a week later, a similar incident occurred at the same farm. Some homeless (Kkotjebis) got beaten to death but the handling of the incident turned out to be quite different. The guards bribed the policemen and the whole incident was buried in secret by the farm managers because of the fear of public’s outcry about ‘another beating to death.’”

Loose Clothes Is the Best for Stealing Grain
Residents mobilized for fall harvest try their best to take as much grain as possible on their way home after work. For example, they make the inside pocket of the clothes as big as possible or they wear several layers of loose clothes. As if it is a new fashion, every wears big and loose clothes this time of the year.

Everyone Invites Elderly Parents Home as Guardians of Grain
Even those who usually pay no attention to their elderly parents try to invite them home during fall harvest time. This invitation is for the purpose of safeguarding the grain. Most of the measures taken against thievery of grain, including expensive locks, iron bars and deep pits, etc fail. They realized that human beings staying home are the best bets against thievery. This is the reason why many want to invite their elderly parent home.

North Korea Today No. 229

RESEARCH INSTITUTE FOR NORTH KOREAN SOCIETY
http://www.goodfriends.or.kr/eng
No. 229 October 2008

10 MT of Rice and 6 Lives Lost in Tragic Accident
Bus and Army Truck Caught in a Deadly Collision
Female Soldier Commits Suicide after Sexual Assault
Rumor Arises, "Undercover agents for South Korea found murdered"
Farm Guards and Soldiers Conspire To Steal Rice
Five Euro/min. For One International Phone Call


10 MT of Rice and 6 Lives Lost in Tragic Accident
On September 27th, an over-sized truck carrying 10 MT of rice rolled over in an accident in the hills of Raksan. The truck belonged to a foreign currency-earning business under the 8th Bureau of Chungjin City in North Hamgyong Province. In the accident, the driver and six other passengers were killed, and the rice was scattered everywhere. This accident was said to be the deadliest and costliest accident in the month of September.

Bus and Army Truck Caught in a Deadly Collision
On September 22nd, around 11AM, a collision between an army vehicle and a bus occurred at Musanryong Hill in Buryong County of North Hamgyong Province. The truck overturned and one passenger died at the scene. Many were injured and taken to the Buryong People's Army's hospital for medical care. One of the victims died shortly after arriving at the hospital from severe injuries. No passengers in the military vehicle suffered any injuries.

Female Soldier Commits Suicide after Sexual Assault
In the city of Hamheung located in North Hamgyong Province, primary soldier Kim Si-hyun (20 years old) shot and killed her squad leader in his sleep before committing suicide herself. It has been revealed that Kim was sexually assaulted by the squad leader on several occasions. One friend said that after meetings with the squad leader, Kim would confide in her saying that she "wants to die". "I think that she remained silent because she was embarrassed and ashamed. There were other victims besides Kim, but she was especially affected by it and hated it the most. She couldn't even sleep at night and would always shake in fear. She was special and it makes me have so much resentment towards everyone due to her sad and unfortunate death," said the friend with a tear.

Rumor Arises, "Undercover agents for South Korea found murdered"

Choi Soon-geum (62) and her daughter Lee Ok-seon (43) were killed on September 10th in Seoheung County, North Hwanghae Province. On the day after the murder, police officers investigated the scene of the incident and their house, where they found many US dollars and South Korean currency. Since the victims did not have a well-paid job, it became the talk of the town that huge money had been found in the house. The investigators in Seoheong County concluded: “The murdered mother and daughter were undercover agents for South Korea and received big money from it. But South Korea agents had someone kill them because they were not succeeding in their mission." Afterward, a rumor spread that “they were secret agents for South Korea, which killed them eventually."

Farm Guards and Soldiers Conspire To Steal Rice
Ryongwoon-ri, Gaechun County, South Pyongan Province, two farm guards and soldiers were arrested by the police substation after they conspired to steal rice. The farm management committee collected 36 sacks of rice (about 700kg), which had been stolen. Although residents were busy with work during harvest time, authorities held a public trial due to the seriousness of the case. At the public trial, working unit supervisors stood up and raised their voice criticizing, "We can't work with those people." They were sent to the interrogation facility.

Five Euro/min. For One International Phone Call
When individuals want to make an international phone call to their relatives or for business purposes, the charge is Five Euro/min. (US $7.0/23,000 NK won). They have to have permission first from a police officer, security agent, secretary, and the head of the neighborhood. Then they can call at the post office under a watchman. All conversations are investigated. Many people secretly use a cell phone because they need to get through the complicated process and because of the expense. Although authorities conduct intense searches for cell phones, they are still used in the face of such an inconvenient and expensive alternative.

North Korea Today No. 228

RESEARCH INSTITUTE FOR NORTH KOREAN SOCIETY
http://www.goodfriends.or.kr/eng
No. 228 October 2008

The Secretary In Charge of Hoeryong Municipal Party Visits Farms To Estimate a Yield Per Pyong
“It’s Dangerous to Eat Udong Imported from China”
A Food Refugee Who Sought Refuge with His Sister
People Wish “The Police would catch thieves rather than just crackdown on market activities”
An Uncle Who Kicked Out His Nephews Are Weeping
A Japanese Woman, “Eating White Rice Is My Wish”
[Petition] We Urge the Government to provide 200,000 MT of Emergency Humanitarian Food Aid for North Korean People and to earmark 1% of Government Budget as North Korean Economic Development Fund.


The Secretary In Charge of Hoeryong Municipal Party Visits Farms To Estimate a Yield Per Pyong
On September 25, the Secretary in charge of the municipal party of Hoeryong in North Hamgyong Province visited farms to estimate yields per pyong (평; unit of land, 1 pyong is 3.954 sq.). Workers from the Ministry of Agriculture had made an estimate of 6 MT for a yield per jungbo (unit of land, 1 jungbo is 2.45acres, and 3,000 pyong). Yet, the Secretary considered this calculation overestimated, and thus, personally visited farms to confirm it. After a farm tour, the Secretary has reached a conclusion that “I doubt if it will reach 3 MT per pyong,” expressed concerns about the state’s considerably high projected amount.

“It’s Dangerous to Eat Udong Imported from China”
A rumor that “It is dangerous to eat udong (우동) imported from China” has been circulating among residents. Residents said that the rumor of Chinese udong originally came from the health department and Pyongsung social science institute in Pyongsung City, South Pyongan Province. Experts in health science conducted an examination of imported udong noodles and discovered that these noodles were made of 20 % of flour and 80 % of impurities, including grits (or stone dust). Kim Jung-mi, a 42-year old resident of Pyongsung said, “Udong noodles are heavy because they contain grits. Doctors publicly mentioned a three-year consumption of udong noodles can cause a serious health problem or a death due to grits (grits will block up all internal organs).” Despite doctors’ warning, Kim continued to say, “During a period of food shortages like now, people still buy and eat udong noodles because they are cheaper than corn noodles. Even doctors who are warning not to eat udong noodles still have them for dinner. We want to eat nutritious and good foods, too, but they are all expensive. What can we do? No matter we know it or not, we still have to allow ourselves to be deceived to survive.”

A Food Refugee Who Sought Refuge with His Sister
A number of people in Gaechun County, South Pyongan Province had died of hunger this spring. Kwon Tae-bok, a 41-year old resident, took a refuge in his sister’s house in Chungjin City some time ago. Kwon lost not only his old parents but also his young wife and two children, respectively five and eight years old, during this year’s food crisis. Kwon could not stop crying while he was talking of his family’s death. He could not sleep well, he also mentioned, for a single day due to feelings of guilt about being the only survivor in his family. With no desire for living, he just traveled to Chungjin where his other siblings live. Once he saw his siblings, however, he felt the desire to live again. Although it not yet clear how he could make a living, he still showed a strong will about his life and said that he would do anything, including piecework and work on a ship and a farm, once he is recovered from the long journey.

People Wish “The Police would catch thieves rather than just crackdown on market activities”
Residents in Hamheung City, South Hamgyong Province appealed the police “not just to control market activities but to catch thieves.” Jung Hae-sook, a 45-year old merchant who sells sweets from China in a market, was robbed on her way of home around at 8:00PM a few days ago, and lost her money as well as items. She kept the money both in her hip back and a red pocket (which she hung around her neck) but lost them all, which was worth approximately 50,000-60,000 NK won (US$15-18). Jung desperately fought back against the robber to keep her money but was only beaten more for her efforts. Jung’s husband was going to meet her and walk home together on that day but they had unfortunately missed each other on the way. As a result, she had to face the robber alone. “Patrol officers at the municipal police station are in charge of public security but they put more efforts in controlling market activities, such as selling vegetables and rice on streets, rather than catching thieves and robbers,” Jung criticized.

An Uncle Who Kicked Out His Nephews Are Weeping

Mr. Park Kwang-nam (51) living in Sinuiju, North Pyongan Province, regretted kicking out his nephew and niece. When his sister living in Kwaksan County got divorced in the spring of last year, she decided to bring up her daughter while her husband took care of their son. This spring when his nephew who could no longer stand the maltreatment of his stepmother was visiting him, the nephew was caught by the homeless (Kkotjebi) Investigation Patrol and detained about 40 days at a Welfare Institution. The child told a woman visiting this institution the address of his uncle in Sinuiju, so his uncle could take him out of the place.

Mr. Park said that he did not recognize him because his nephew was 14 years old now, but he seemed only a boy of 7 years old. Even though his living condition was hard, he could not ignore his nephew’s visit and raised him by gathering clothes and corn from his
neighbors. Furthermore, his niece who had lived with her mother came to him less than a month after his nephew. Mr. Park on the verge of tears said, “My family is living in a room of a shabby house, my wife is sick and lies down all day, and I have three kids to take care of, so it is really tough to feed two more kids. Because I do not have enough food or heating fuel, all of my family could become the homeless (Kkotjebi) soon. I have tried to endure these difficulties about half a year, but I did not have any confidence of raising my nephew and niece any more because I could not secure any food even after harvest.”

Mr. Park continued his story, “I gave each kid 3,000 NK won and forced them to go to their parents. Seungcheol’s mother gave me the money that she made from a day’s work because she felt very sorry about their situation.” At Mr. Park’s statement, Seungcheol’s mother consoled him by saying, “When even their parents gave them up to survive, you did a great job. The kids can understand their uncle’s difficult situation, so they could not reproach their uncle.” Mr. Park did not seem to release his burden from even this consolation and said, “I cannot forget the day when I met my nephew and brought him my home.” He cried and said, “He told me that when he saw four kids die from hunger in his room and wrapped them in a gunny bag to take them out from the room, he decided to escape the place because he felt that he was going to die, too. However, the window was as small as a palm and had bars and the door was locked. As he was speaking of his experience of being locked up in such a room all day and receiving only a few boiled grains of corn, he cried so bitterly that I also cried with him. I threw out my nephew who suffered such terrible experiences with my own hands. I won’t be able to face my ancestors when I die with this shame on my shoulders. I don’t want my nephew to forgive me. I just want them to survive anywhere. I don’t wish they are caught again by the Patrol and detained at a Welfare Institution. I am praying they are not sick and that they just survive.”

A Japanese Woman, “Eating White Rice Is My Wish”
A Japanese woman at 80 in this year lost her husband long time ago and raised two sons and a daughter by herself. Her daughter died during the Arduous March in 1990s, her first son lives in Dukchun County, South Pyongan Province, and the second son lives in Sinuiju, North Pyongan Province. She lives with her second son. Being very diligent and hardworking, she has raised pigs and chicken on her veranda and cultivated vegetables on a small patch of field more than 10 years to support her family’s livelihood. To gather leftovers to feed the pigs, she has visited every house everyday although she is old and sick. Because she has collected the leftovers more than 10 years, some people wait for her to give her their leftovers and other people provide her with meals when she visits them. She slipped and fell on ice last winter, which caused hairline fracture on her wrist and could not use one of her arms for more than 6 months. She is still busy visiting every house and gathering food to feed her pigs and says, “Eating white rice is my wish.”

[Petition] We Urge the Government to provide 200,000 MT of Emergency Humanitarian Food Aid for North Korean People and to earmark 1% of Government Budget as North Korean Economic Development Fund.

We would like to show our respect and love to President Lee Myoung-bak for his efforts for the country and to the citizens for their hard work in their given situation. We also convey our deep sympathy to our fellow countrymen in North Korea who are struggling to survive in the fields, in the market place, and on the streets.

We in the religious community feel a deep pain when we heard of the news that North Koreans are suffering from hunger and starvation the same way they were suffering in the early 1990’s. As such, in our attempt to help relieve the suffering of North Koreans, we started collecting one million signatures urging the delivery of 200,000 MT of emergency humanitarian food aid for the North Korean People and the use of 1% of government budget as North Korean economic development fund.

On hot summer days we, volunteers from all over country, searched out places where people gather including the streets, subways, schools, soccer fields, and the beaches. With sweat, pouring down our faces and with passion that was hotter than the hottest weather we earnestly pled for the relief of suffering for the North Korean people. Each day we collected signatures form thousands to tens of thousand of people and the people of the religious community felt the people’s voices and desires. At times we were chastised by the elderly who still have scars from the war, and insulted and attacked by homeless people. The unfortunate shooting incident of a tourist in the Mt. Geumgang made our spirit falter for a while against all the strong oppositions and accusations. However, we remembered the North Korean people suffering even at that very moment and realigned our determination. We met numerous people face-to-face on the streets and discovered that beneath the emotions the people expressed they carried warm hearts for the people of North Korea and wished for reconciliation and peace. Through this experience our trust and hope for our people deepened. Therefore, with the will of more than one million people we are pleading for the following.

First, we are urging the government to provide 200,000 tons of emergency food aid as soon as possible to the North Korean people starving from food shortage. Many of the citizens who are opposed to North Korean government participated without hesitation when they heard the calling of “Let’s help the starving North Korean people.” We cannot let them to die just because they were born in North Korea. Not much time is left for the starving people. As such, we reached consensus that it is left to only us to save our fellow Koreans. No political views or positions are more precious than lives, and we believe that we should not hesitate to save even the lives of those we hate. We have learned that most believe that people will not turn their back on those who saved their lives.

Second, we are urging the government to set aside 1% of government budget and use it for the North Korean economic development fund. In order to resolve the food shortage problem of North Korean people we need to go beyond emergency food aid and provide aid for economic development. Providing assistance now is more economical than spending astronomical figures for the development of North Korean society after the unification, and that is the way to ensure Korea’s strong future. It is reported that the future cost of restoring North Korea’s bare mountains, devastated agriculture, industrial economy with mere 20% operation rate, underdeveloped social overhead capital, and paralyzed educational system and healthcare system will be anywhere from hundreds of billions to several trillions of dollars. However, we can relieve both famine problem as well as the deforestation problem if we provide nursery trees for restoring bare mountains now and give food to those who plant the trees. If we want to make our dream of unification come true providing aid for the North Korean economic development is the way to win the North Korean people’s mind. In addition, that will be the most economical and efficient investment for building a unified Korea.

Third, we are urging the government to use patience as well as cooperation through various channels in their effort to achieve reconciliation between North and South Korea. Resolving the problems between the North and South requires wise decisions and courageous determinations from the officials of North and South Korea. Sixty-three years have passed since our country was divided after the Japanese occupation and the Korean War. Numerous confrontations and conflicts we have experienced remain as big scars to both people of North and South Korea. The problems of dispersed families who have been separated for several decades, South Koreans abducted to North Korea, and Korean POWs in North Korea should be resolved as soon as possible. The dialogue between the North and South must continue to resolve those problems. We hope that the government will never let go of the dialogue for reconciliation and cooperation between the North and South in spite of difficulties. The mutual goal among those of us in the religious community is to build a world of harmony by practicing love and compassion and by promoting reconciliation and peace between societal classes, between ethnic groups, and between races. As such, we the people in the religious community pledge that we will do what we can do to bring about reconciliation and cooperation between the North and South.

We welcome President Lee Myung-bak’s recent visit to Russia and closing of the business deal for building natural gas supply lines through North Korea. North Korea’s economy and society will develop greatly, and peace in Northeast Asia will become stabilized through this business deal. We urge that the government maintains close and cooperative relations with the countries involved in North Korean nuclear issues, which is in deadlock, in order to resolve the problem. Also, we hope that the North and the South will develop a peaceful relationship by promoting mutual respect and trust and through exchanges and co operations in economic, scientific, and technological fields. Dialogues and co operations between the North and the South must precede everything in order to achieve this.

Honorable Mr. President Lee Myung-bak, government officials, society leaders, and citizens! We once again plead that the government provide 200,000 MT of emergency food aid to save North Koreans, and use 1% of government budget to restore North Korean society. Let us save our fellow Koreans and help create stepping-stones to unification. Let us build a great nation with great people. We hope that we will have a president and people recognized and respected by the world community through these efforts.

October 7, 2008

Assembly of religious leaders for reconciliation and peace in Korea

* This week’s opinion is replaced by the petition, 「The Report and Submission of One Million Signatures」, which was announced by Assembly of religious leaders for reconciliation and peace in Korea on October 7.

North Korea Today No. 227

RESEARCH INSTITUTE FOR NORTH KOREAN SOCIETY
http://www.goodfriends.or.kr/eng
No. 227 October 2008
Residents of Hoeryong City Did Not Attend a Civil Defense Exercise
Release the Soldiers Who Stole the Corn and Beat the Security Guard
“Suffering will end within 3 years” Transforms Into “World will change within 3 years”
“Praising on the people is not a revolution”
Ruthless Shooting to a Boat Going Out to the Open Sea
Punishment for Market Managers Who Stashed Away a Market Tax
Alcohol is a Waste of Grain. Thus, a Thorough Control of It is Necessary.
The Investigation of the City Management Started


Residents of Hoeryong City Did Not Attend a Civil Defense Exercise
On September 24, the defense-training program for civilians (민간반항공소개훈련; 민방위훈련) was held in Hoeryong City, North Hamgyong Province, but the participation was very poor. Only 1/5 of the total population attended. The other 80 % of the city’s residents were out farming the private patch fields or stayed at home. The authorities from Civilian Defense ordered the residents who did not participate in the training program to pay 5,000 NK won, but not many people seem to care.

Release the Soldiers Who Stole the Corn and Beat the Security Guard
The authorities from North Hamgyong Province received 15kg of hot peppers from a military base. In exchange, a soldier who committed robbery was freed. On September 24, this soldier went into a crop field in Youngsoo-ri of Hoeryong City, and beat the farm security guard and destroyed his home. Later, other security guards arrested him and sent him to the military base, but also decided to report the incident to the Central Party. Fearing punishment from the Central Party, the authorities from the military base urgently sent 15 kg of hot peppers to the authorities of Northern Hamgyong Province. Further, they promised to pay for all the medical costs as well as the damages to the property. When this story was heard by Shim Jang-won, he said, “The last meeting of the government parties emphasized, ‘have no mercy for those who steal crops,’ but I now realize that it takes only 15 kg of red peppers for mercy.”

“Suffering will end within 3 years” Transforms Into “World will change within 3 years”
Park Hang-ja (67), who lives in North Hwanghae Province, is known to read other people’s fortunes well. At the beginning of September, a couple visited and asked, "When will we be able to get overcome this hard time and constant illness?” Park looked at them very closely and said, "Suffering will end within 3 years. So, don’t lose your faith because when the time comes, we will all have a good time.” However, after the word went into the security agency (보위부), Park was arrested on September 24. The prediction that, “the world will change in 3 years" and the instigation of innocent people, were the reasons for the arrest. A person who knows Park well said, “Why would Park have such guts to say such a thing. This is a conspiracy to arrest fortune-tellers.”

“Praising on the people is not a revolution”
In Wonsan City, Kangwon Province, a staff member went got into serious trouble because of something he said while drinking with others. He said, “Our generation is living in the most troublesome period. Foreigners’ perception of North Koreans is they are the most docile people in the world. Even they are surprised that we are overcoming this difficult time.” His words eventually went into the security agency, who then ordered 6 months of detention for saying things like ‘troublesome period’ and ‘difficult times.’ When the local residents heard this, they asked, “How can giving praise to people lead to punishment?”

Ruthless Shooting to a Boat Going Out to the Open Sea
On September 22, 4 crew members of a squid hunting boat from Heungnam city, in the South Hamgyong Province, were shot to death by the Navy. The Navy explained that they fired at the boat because it was moving for the open sea toward South Korea. The residents could not understand how the Navy could assume the boat was fleeing to South Korea. The neighbors and friends of the deceased were suspicious of their explanation because those who were killed were from a fishing family, who did not know anything about South Korea and would never have thought of fleeing there. In response, the naval authorities said, “We followed the instruction from the above, who instructed us to relentlessly shoot any boat trying to going out to the open sea.”

Punishment for Market Managers Who Stashed Away a Market Tax
In Sariwon of the North Hwanghae Province, six market managers were fired and sent to the city labor training center for embezzling a portion of market tax. These managers collected the daily market tax and divided it amongst themselves. They were sentenced to return the entire amount they misappropriated to the government after the city prosecutor office discovered their embezzlement.

Alcohol is a Waste of Grain. Thus, a Thorough Control of It is Necessary.
On September 25, the North Korean authorities re-established firm control over the producing and selling of home-brewed alcohol. In addition, the Central Party said, “The fact that some residents are making alcohol out of food is a waste of grain.” The Party also instructed each work unit, “harvest grain without wasting any of it,” and to the police of each area, “Banishment to the countryside if anyone is caught selling home-brewed alcohols or selling it to markets or volunteering service regions (봉사망).” Accordingly, the city, county officials and supervisors of companies are learning the instruction from the Party, “In order for us to overcome the current worldwide food crisis, we need to provide support for the farms such that we will harvest without wasting even one grain of rice.”

The Investigation of the City Management Started
The Central Party has instructed each Province to begin investigation of the city management. The Investigation, which will consist of the Province and the City Management Teams, will specifically focus on the illegal activities that occur in “the building of a new house, the remodeling of an existing house, the structural modification of an apartment, and the selling and buying of houses.”

North Korea Today No. 226

RESEARCH INSTITUTE FOR NORTH KOREAN SOCIETY
No. 226 October 2008
Profit of 10 to 20 NK Won From Selling an Egg
People Usually Buy Two Eggs at a Time
Discharged Military Officials Worried Because They Are Having Difficulty Finding New Jobs
The Gaechun Munitions Factory Workers Live Up To Their Reputation in Selling Cooking Facilities
"The working conditions are so harsh that I have not had a regular menstrual period."


Profit of 10 to 20 NK Won From Selling an Egg
Women of Ryongchun County, North Pyongan Province are going crazy to find food. Like women in other areas, they cut down on their sleep and do all kinds of dirty work to find food. So far, the women have maintained their livelihood with only grass porridge since the spring. For the autumn months, they live off potato, sweet potato and corn which they farmed themselves. The women of Ryongchun town work on a farm as well as sell goods at the market. A typical woman goes to the nearest farm village which is 16km away early in the morning to buy eggs to sell at the market. She can make 10 to 20 NK won of profit for selling an egg so even if she sells 200 eggs, she cannot make more that four thousands NK won (US$1.00 is approximately 3,300 NK won). This is when the market condition is good. In these days, it is difficult to sell 100 eggs so it is hard to earn two to three thousands NK won. Nevertheless, these women walk 32km everyday to buy eggs and come back.

Some women on rice cake sales make rice cake during the night and exchange 1kg of rice cake with 1.5kg of unglutinous rice. The profit they can get is less than 200g of rice because of costs for materials like red bean and processing fuel. 1Kg of corn noodle soup is exchanged with 1.3kg of whole corn (통옥수수). The most profitable business is pork sale because it can make 200 to 300 NK won of profit per kg. With these earnings, people can only get corn porridge. They cannot even think about having side dishes but a little bit of salt. Women there say that it is fortunate sometimes to have dried radish leaves with corn noddle soup.
People Usually Buy Two Eggs at a Time
Lee Seon-ok (age 45) who sells eggs at Sinuiju of North Pyongan Province says it is not a very profitable business. According to Lee, as obtaining food is becoming more difficult, the number of people who buy eggs is decreasing and even when people buy eggs, they only buy two eggs at a time. If someone buys a lot eggs, it is still usually no more than five eggs. Lee has two daughters and a husband who all work at factories but none of them receive wages or a food supply. She needs to support her family including her mother-in-law by selling eggs. She pleads her difficult situation making 10 NK won from selling two eggs.

Discharged Military Officials Worried Because They Are Having Difficulty Finding New Jobs
Han Seon-hwa (age 23) from Wonsan city, Kangwon Province has been looking for a job since she finished her military service two years ago. While she was in service, she became a party member but that has not helped her to find a job. Her mother had sold home-made wine and supported her family members. Since the regulation on home-made wine business became harsh, the livelihood of her family worsened. Han said, “I need to find a job as soon as possible to support my mother and younger brothers and sisters. But there is not a proper job for unmarried women like me. As a member of the party, I cannot ignore party's order which prohibits business. It gives me a headache.” She showed her deep anxiety saying that she had even considered prostitution.

The Gaechun Munitions Factory Workers Live Up To Their Reputation in Selling Cooking Facilities
From November of last year to the present, no food has been supplied at Gakarm Munitions factory of Gaechun city, South Pyongan Province. Workers secretly make home-use cooking facilities (가정용 화식설비) when they are supposed to make cooking facilities for People's Army. They secretly bring the cooking facilities home so that their wives can sell them at the market on the next day. The workers have maintained their living with this income. Workers of this factory go to work everyday but put all their efforts on making home use cookers for selling.

"The working conditions are so harsh that I have not had a regular menstrual period."
Lim Soon-young (age 22) works at a clothing factory of Sinuiju city, North Pyongan Province. She laughed and said that she did not suffer from starvation because the factory sometimes gives wages and food. She also said, “Boys usually go to the military after finishing junior high school and girls who are not able to go to high school work at factories like me. It does not mean that everybody can get a job at a factory. I was very lucky to work at an exporting clothing factory. There are many factories which are stopped or closed. This factory I work at is very good one because it gives me wages and goods. We receive orders from China, work on manufacturing at the factory, and send products to them. The factory even has a bus transporting workers on three shifts. When the electric current is off, they finish the assigned amount of work using a power generator. The pay is 1,500 NK won per month and rice or wheat flour from China is provided. Actually, the wage is very low but I cannot complain when there are so many people who are not paid at all.” Lim who usually has a smile on her face showed some sadness when she was asked if the work was not tough. “If I say it is not difficult, it would be a lie. The labor intensity is very high. There are many unmarried women who do not have a regular menstrual period. Because we work so hard having swollen legs and scabs on their faces, missing the menstruation, sometimes I envy girls who go to college and marry thanks to rich parents. However, it is not a general case and I am not the only one who suffers so I try to forget those things.” She finished her talk with shy smile.

North Korea Today No. 225

RESEARCH INSTITUTE FOR NORTH KOREAN SOCIETY
http://www.goodfriends.or.kr/eng
No.225 October 2008

In Kangwon Province, Fortunate Are Those Who Can Afford to Eat Potatoes
At Universities in South Hamgyong Province, Students Are Rationed With 15 Potatoes A Day
Those that Sacrifice to Donate Rice
Two Corns-on-the-Cobs for a Road Construction Worker for Lunch
Party Secretaries of Cities and Counties Responsible For Apportionment in Military Provisions


In Kangwon Province, Fortunate Are Those Who Can Afford to Eat Potatoes
In counties of Bubdong, Gosan, Tongchun and Sepo, food crisis is very severe. September is the toughest month before the fall harvest. There is no external food aid whatsoever. It is difficult to say which county is the worst because most of the residents can afford barely a meal a day. Even in the City of Wonsan, the largest city in Kangwon Province, most of the residents suffer from the food shortage. Kim Hyung-jin (35) at Galma-dong says it has been a long time since he last saw a grain of rice and his family of five barely survives on 4 kg of potato a day. He, with a swollen face, said, “It was really hard for the first ten days. But we are used to it now. Fortunate are those who can afford potatoes. Those poorer residents eat grass porridge mixed with powdered corn. They even pull out and eat cabbages and dried greens from the field to suppress hunger.”

At Universities in South Hamgyong Province, Students Are Rationed With 15 Potatoes A Day
Major universities of South Hamgyong Province provide each student at the dormitories with five potatoes a meal, a total of 15 potatoes a day. Occasional rotten potatoes cause diarrhea to many students. Students themselves prepare porridge of potato in their rooms. Hunger causes some students to complain about dizziness and some students cannot even get up from their seats at the end of the class. Students complain that because of hunger no matter what they do all they think about is food.

Those that Sacrifice to Donate Rice

People’s Army political lecture series list people who donate rice to army in the middle of this severe food crisis. An elderly man, saying that the young soldiers are like his grandsons and should not go hungry, paid a visit to a neighboring army unit to donate 1.5 kg of soybean. A daughter-in-law in a family donated 15 kg of corn on the cob and her mother-in-law donated again 15 kg of corn on the cob, which was all that the family owned. Some soldiers seem to be moved by these episodes. However, the majority of the soldiers seem to believe they are all downright lies,

Two Corns-on-the-Cobs for a Road Construction Worker for Lunch
Hwang Hak-soo (57), a factory manager at City of Dukchun, South Pyongan Province, was able to visit with his son, a worker of the 8th Bureau (Bureau of Road Construction), on the way home from a business trip to Pyongyang. Hwang Jin-man (24), his son, was in the middle of unloading a truck in pajamas. They could have a talk only during lunch hour. His son’s lunch was just two corns-on-the-cobs. It broke his heart. Afterwards, he went into a mountain area where there was no one in sight and cried long and hard. Mr. Hwang realized the first time how miserable the workers lives were. He was shocked. Upon arriving home, he sent 50,000 NK won to his son immediately and decided that he would send about 200,000 NK won (approx. US $60) to his son every month.

Party Secretaries of Cities and Counties Responsible For Apportionment in Military Provisions
Party secretaries of cities and counties should be ready to be relieved of their position and fired if they fail to meet the required apportionment in military provisions. Consequently, every party secretary of city and county takes all measures to prevent any amount of food to leave their jurisdictions. These measures caused the rice dealers to carry more than 10 Kg of rice on them during night. A central party official commented, “The food situation with the military is so severe that all the possible measures will be taken to meet the required apportionment in military provisions. It will be very tough for the rice dealers, but no party secretary would have any other options but to follow instructions from above. Who would let any amount of food leave the city in daylight if you are about to lose your head?” He predicted that it would be difficult for rice to move outside the city or county for any foreseeable time.

North Korea Today No. 224

RESEARCH INSTITUTE FOR NORTH KOREAN SOCIETY
http://www.goodfriends.or.kr/eng
No.224 October 2008

“Is a vehicle more precious than a person?”
“They ask us to protect our country, but we would rather live in China”
"Proper Conduct at the City Water Center"
For Complimenting South Korean Sports, a Chinese-Korean Man Suffers a Bitter Experience
At the Hamheung Textile Factory, Extreme Measures to Collect Cotton for Military Blankets


“Is a vehicle more precious than a person?”
On August 3, a merchant vehicle on its way to Rajin from the Gimchaek Iron Mill in Chungjin City, North Hamgyong Province, rolled off a cliff at Juhseulryong Hill (저슬령고개). The first place the manager ran to after hearing about the accident was to the cliff itself. The workers were not too happy about such reaction from their manager. “Is a vehicle more precious than a person? It is morally right to visit the hospital first to check on the condition of the driver,” said Hwang Kyu-hyuk. The vehicle involved in the accident was one of the few imported vehicles used in the state-owned enterprise.

One staff member offered a counter argument saying, “Even I would have checked on the condition of vehicle first. If we do not act promptly, people would just take all the parts off the vehicle and there will be nothing left. If the vehicle is not completely destroyed, a manager’s responsibility is to save whatever he can. Someone at least in the manager position has to appear at the scene if we want to bring back the vehicle. Since the patient should already be receiving medical care in the hospital, iron mill staff members can go wherever they believe they are needed.”


“They ask us to protect our country, but we would rather live in China”
In Hamheung City, South Hamgyong Province, the number of people complaining about their living conditions is increasing. “Every political speech seems to claim that it is us who have to protect our own country. However, we do not have a passion to fulfill that goal nor do we feel any need to do so. In the past, it was hard to think about crossing the border simply because it was too far away and leaving family behind was a difficult choice. However, conditions have gotten to the point where we want to risk everything to cross the border,” complained the residents. The number of people complaining has definitely increased, but only a few people actually try. The reason is that nowadays it has become nearly impossible to cross the river without a bribe. The money required for bribing is too expensive for people who barely survive on one meal of porridge each day. It costs about 2,000 Yuan (Chinese currency) to cross the river for a round-trip to China. This amount exceeds 3,000 Yuan for those who only want one-way trip. Although people dream of crossing the river because of there terrible living conditions, it is only those who are relatively rich that can actually cross the river. This is representative of the present situation in North Korea.

"Proper Conduct at the City Water Center"
In North Pyongan Province, Sinuiju region, there was a public lecture to promote proper, orderly conduct at the drinking station in the city. There have been complaints about certain groups of people who are wasting water by taking it directly from the main water pipe and the lecture suggests that this act should be prohibited. Many apartments share a main water pipe, but certain groups of people are directly connecting that pipe to their homes, which results in a selfish, rapid use of the water which is to be shared by many. On the other hand, these citizens are complaining that it is wrong to tell them to stop using water from the main pipe without taking steps to fix the lack of abundant tap water. "I hope that the officials will pay more attention to the water supply scarcity," said 38-year-old Shim Kyung-cheol.

For Complimenting South Korean Sports, a Chinese-Korean Man Suffers a Bitter Experience
A Chinese-Korean man (50 years old) from Hunchun city in China got into trouble after speaking out while visiting his relatives who reside at Onsung town in Onsung County in North Hamgyong Province. After kindly offering his cigarettes to villagers who were leaving a trade market, he had a chat with them about the Beijing Olympic Games. He said to them “South Korea advanced into the ranks of the ten most powerful sports nations. Moreover, in exporting South Korea ranks twelfth among the major world exporters, a rich country seems to get the lead in sports as well.” However, someone reported his words to the market security office and its officers investigated him. Even after the man clarified the purpose of his visit, the security officer investigated his identity and questioned the purpose of his visit, suspicious that he might have come to make propaganda for South Korea. They interrogated him about what he had talked about near the market. He did not understand what was going on around him, simply saying “I swear what I have told them just before is all true.”

Once he answered, they said, “You are strange. Pull everything out of your pockets! ” and then they inspected the contents of his pockets. They found a phone number written on a piece of paper, the officers questioned him about whose phone number it was. The Chinese-Korean man explained that the number belonged to a friend’s relative, who he had offered to contact on his friend’s behalf. However, the officers continued their interrogation, “Don’t lie! Is he South Korean or a North Korean defector? They might send you here with a suspicious mission. You seem to look with favor on South Korea. You are not like a normal visitor.”

Now the man grasped the seriousness of the situation he faced. He gave Chinese currency 3000 Yuan and two cartons of cigarettes to the officers while apologizing for his slip of the tongue due to his unfamiliarity with North Korean law. Then the officers softened up a bit, saying “We will confiscate this money because its purpose is suspicious. It shouldn’t happen again, so go back to your country tomorrow with no delay.” He was indignant about the unexpected loss of money caused by his simple words. Villagers who had watched the incident develop comforted him, saying “It is lucky you did not make things worse.”

At the Hamheung Textile Factory, Extreme Measures to Collect Cotton for Military Blankets
The wool textile factory in Hamheung city of South Hamgyong Province is a national enterprise providing military supplies with two industries. The factory is mainly aimed at manufacturing military blankets for the People’s Defense Ministry (인민무력부). But after suffering from a shortage of raw materials, workers have been forced to use only worn-out cotton (파솜). To accomplish the task, factory managers organize female workers into a unit of 50 or 80 and send them out to each village in order to gather used cotton inside of villagers’ bedding or from other sources. The units of female workers buy the cotton, paying 50 cents per kg. The factory has around 5,000 workers, of which 3,500 female workers go out of the village to another city or district to obtain cotton. Most of the women are impoverished.
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