GoodFriends: Research Institute For North Korean Society

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North Korea Today No.287

RESEARCH INSTITUTE FOR NORTH KOREAN SOCIETY
[Weekely Newsletter] No.287 July 2009

[“Good Friends” desires to help the North Korean people through humanistic point of view, and publishes “North Korea Today” describing the way the North Korean people live as real as possible. We at Good Friends also hope to be a bridge between the North Korean people and the world.]

[Hot Topics]
Crowd Surveillance Diary Makes Citizens Cautious of what They Say
Policeman in Dukchun Suspected of Receiving Bribes

[Food]
Forty Percent of the Doctors at the Kim Jong-Sook Nursing Home Live on only Two Meals a Day

[Economy]
Squid Fishing Workers Submit 7 Squids out of 10
The Province Farm Management Committee of North Hamgyong Province, Grasp Realities on Fertilizer
Fungus Found on Cigarettes at the Management Office of Soonchun Cigarette Factory

[Politics]
Labor Secretary of the Provincial Party in Jagang Province Dismissed for Illegal Modification of Residential HousePyongsung City Dismisses Officer Who Built New House
Escape of the First Secretary of the Youth Union in Ryanggang Province Results in Widespread Dismissal of Officials
80 Managers and Officials Ousted from Wonsan city last year

[Society]
NK Squid Trapping Boat Captured by Russian Coast Guards
Squid Fishing Season is Here and Pirates are Rampant in the East Coast
People’s Hospital of Pyongwon County is at High Risk of Collapse
“The Current Food Situation is Tantamount to that of Arduous March” -Officials of Grain Policy Division of South Hamgyong Province

[Women/Children/Education]
Women Allowed Market Activities after Completing a Term at “Special Labor Brigade”

[Accidents]
Part-time Fishing Boat of Oongjin County Shot by Coastal Guards

[Investigative Report]
[Analysis of Public Lecture Material]
All Party Members Ought To Be in the Vanguard of Rousing Struggle to Heighten Our New Revolution
________________________________________________________
[Hot Topics]
Crowd Surveillance Diary Makes Citizens Cautious of what They Say
During the 150-day battle period, surveillance measures are increasing. In the meeting for the Party Organization and Security officials of each area, it was said that, “whenever people are gathered together, they think of something else a lot” and they are told to write down any problematic opinions in the Crowd Surveillance Diary. Even if there is nothing to report, an entry has to be made in the Security Department’s Crowd Surveillance Diary every day, and the “ardent party members” who have to write in the diary reacted with chagrin. The Police Station convened meetings for the chief of business entities, members of the Women’s Party, People’s Chief, and carried out surveillance of their comments. Kim Hak-Min (alias, 40s) who lives in Wonsan City, Kangwon Province, says that “because entries have to be made every day, when I have nothing to say, I write anything. But sometimes I wrote ‘the passer-by seemed suspicious. (He) looked around suspiciously.’ I think there are many who wrote like me.” Min Gwan-Ung (40s) said, “Because we fear being written about in the (Crowd Surveillance) Diary, everybody is very cautious of what they say. If (one) complains once, (he) is reported as a complainer, or deemed to have spread rumors, and therefore it’s risky to say anything. As I don’t know if anyone is going to write about me, there is mutual suspicion. Ahn Chul-Jin (30s) said, “The police officers call the chiefs of districts and tell them to repeat in detail what they had heard.”

Policeman in Dukchun Suspected of Receiving Bribes
Han Seung-Jo (alias, 50s), a policeman in the Investigation Division in Dukchun City, South Pyongan Province, triggered a controversy when he accused an innocent man of theft. When Han learned that Jung Taek-Gun (alias, 50s), who had been friendly with him, was burglarized and suspected the man next door, (Han) arrested him immediately without much investigation. For about 40 days he used interrogation techniques that were close to torture, and Han obtained a false statement, “I did the burglary,” and sentenced him for re-education. The family of the victim said (he is) innocent and reported the incident to the Central Party. Three months later, a worker from the Central Party came down and investigated the matter again. As a result it was revealed that Jung Taek Gun who had accused an innocent man of theft had been involved in some business dealings and was in conflict with him, and he made a vicious accusation to avenge him. Han received several bribes from Jung and had immediately arrested the next-door neighbor without any evidence. The worker from the Central Party who came to re-investigate determined that this “event was made by the policeman who was greedy and forced (someone to make) a false statement, and the resident who used the law to (deal) with personal ambition and vicious feelings.” On April 18th, the next-door neighbor who had been sent to the re-education center was declared not guilty and freed. The policeman received a life sentence and his family was expelled to the mountainside.

[Food]
Forty Percent of the Doctors at the Kim Jong-Sook Nursing Home Live on only Two Meals a Day
Forty percent of the doctors at the Kim Jong-Sook nursing home in North Hamgyong Province live on only two meals a day. These meals consist of porridge rather than rice. About forty percent of the 150 doctors at the nursing home eat only once a day, a meal that consists of rice. Food shortages and hunger have led to doctors violating rules and to committing wrongful acts while in their practice. Choi Man-Gil(pseudonym), a nursing home resident receiving care described how the nursing home is operated: Doctors do not care about increasing the quality of service or treating patients. They focus on making money, even by improper means. They target patients with deep pocket, only treating patients with money. Doctors ask for additional money for certain treatments (e.g., spa treatments), which they are supposed to provide for a basic medical fee. Even though only patients with certain designated illnesses are eligible for hospitalization, for a payment of 60,000 NK won, doctors are willing to admit healthy people even though they are not diagnosed to be admitted into nursing homes. It goes without saying that the doctors also smuggle medicine or sell it illegally for above market price on the black market. Residents complain about the facility, claiming that, “The main wards are very humid. Electrical service is often interrupted. Therefore, many people prefer seeking lodging nearby and obtaining treatment as outpatients rather than in-patients. Patients are likely to be exploited by the government medical system and by doctors.” From May 20th to June 15th, 2009, regulators cracked down on physician misconduct. As a result, seven doctors were relieved of their duties. Two doctors were punished with two months of unpaid work.

[Economy]
Squid Fishing Workers Submit 7 Squids out of 10
The East Sea region, including Chungjin City, North Hamgyong Province is at the peak season of squid fishing. Squid fishing is the only opportunity for workers to earn money, so the workers count the days to squid season. Workers without a second job try their best to get as much as possible. Contract workers who got the job on the boat owned by factories, enterprises and moneylenders are hired with a 7 to 3 ratio. The workers give up 7 out of 10 squids, keeping only 3 for themselves. About 80% of residences of Yunjin-dong of Chungam District, Chungjin make their living through such squid fishing. Many migrate to Yungjin-dong from different regions to become a contract worker. However, many migrant workers suffer a total loss of their property by spending money on rent, food, equipment and other various essentials. The waterfront is inaccessible during bad weather so squid fishing does not go smoothly.

The Province Farm Management Committee of North Hamgyong Province, Grasp Realities on Fertilizer
Last June 19, the Province Farm Management Committee of North Hamgyong Province gathered information on current farm conditions from all cities and counties by holding meetings through management committees. The Chairman of the Farm Management Committee proclaimed to meeting participants, “In order to become a Strong and Prosperous Nation, our farm has to be well maintained because resolving the food problem will solve all other problems. This year has produced the greatest amount of fertilizers since the beginning of the Arduous March. However, it still needs to be error-proof from the country’s perspective and we need to obtain more Heukbosan Fertilizer.” According to this statement, the Province Farm Management Committee of North Hamgyong Province decided to review the current status of fertilizer by dispatching workers to all working farms and gathering information on its usage and possession. All workers perform a through research, including the amount of fertilizer used for each corn ear. They insist that they are confirming the legitimate use of all fertilizer.

Fungus Found on Cigarettes at the Management Office of Soonchun Cigarette Factory
Due to negligence at a cigarette factory in Soonchun City, South Pyungan Province, 40,000 cartons of cigarettes produced in June were damaged with fungus. Cigarettes need to be heated during the drying stage but workers did not have sufficient energy to complete this process. These cigarettes were planned to be distributed to the 3rd Unit of the 91st Training Camp but this has resulted in delays as of today. In fact, supplies have been discontinued since April 20 and workers were waiting on June supplies. The Support Bureau ordered, “Supply bad cigarettes to the units” In addition, cigarettes produced at this factory are being sold at Soonchun Market for 100 NK won each. Cigarettes produced at Pyongyang Ryongsung Cigarette Factory are being sold between 800 and 1,100 NK won.

[Politics]
Labor Secretary of the Provincial Party in Jagang Province Dismissed for Illegal Modification of Residential House
On May 2nd, the Central Party dismissed a Labor Secretary of the Provincial Party in Jagang Province who was reported to have illegally modified a private residential house. The report alleged that (the Labor Secretary) built a bigger house than the one that had been assigned to him. An officer who was dispatched to Jagang Province for the '150-day Battle' reviewed the complaint and reported it to the Central Party. In the meeting of the party members, it was emphasized that “Those people who hinder establishing a Strong and Prosperous Nation are vermin that encroach upon socialism. They are the dregs of society as well as garbage. The garbage must be cleaned up completely this time.”

Pyongsung City Dismisses Officer Who Built New House
A City Management Officer of the People’s Assembly of Pyongsung City, South Pyongan Province, was reported to the Provincial Party for his residential house problem, discharged from the office, and demoted to a laborer. In addition, he was sent to a mine with his family. An anonymous letter was delivered to the provincial report center in which stated, “He (the City Management Officer) had built a house about 100 pyungbang size, furnished with modern equipment last year when a lot of people were perishing with hunger. North Korea is a country for officers only. People like us live in a rest area in a factory or an enterprise, or in a cow-raising mud hut because there is no house, while the officers live such a good life. The nobilities and the lowborn are clearly distinguished in this country.” As the public sentiments about the City Management Officer aggravated, the authorities confiscated his house and let other people move in. A 73-year-old war veteran and his family who used to live in the Youth Goat Farm because they did not have a house, families of the level 2 decorated soldiers, and a family whose member had done a distinguished service to the state moved into the house.

Escape of the First Secretary of the Youth Union in Ryanggang Province Results in Widespread Dismissal of Officials
The officers are experiencing grave aftereffects in relation to the escape of the First Secretary of the Youth Union in Ryanggang Province in the middle of last May. The security authorities think that the First Secretary of the Youth Union had probably attempted to go to South Korea through the border in Hyesan City to China. On June 10th, the Central Party, upon the receipt of the report, criticized the officers of the Provincial Party in Ryanggang Province by saying, “What did the provincial officers in Ryanggang Province do as to make the First Secretary of the Youth Union escape to South Korea? There is a problem with the officers of the Provincial Party in Ryanggang Province.” Accordingly, many provincial officers, such as the Leading Secretary of the Provincial Party, the Organization Secretary, the Propaganda Secretary, the Labor Secretary, and the Security Manager, were discharged on June 16th and were sent to various organizations and industries as a laborer. Since the escape of the First Secretary, the provincial officers worry about what will happen in the future. They said, “The fact that the First Secretary escaped to South Korea is not, by itself, some sort of national matter with confidential significance. Rather, the concern is that it may have a bad influence on the officers and the people because the incident occurred in the middle of the 150-day battle as the people were trying to open the gate of the Strong and Prosperous Nation.” In addition, they were concerned that “the bigger problem than people losing their faith in the idea of Strong and Prosperous Nation is that people may begin to believe in the idea of capitalism.” The Central Party announced that they will reinforce the inspection of the officers in the National Border Area saying, “The escape of the First Secretary shows how the ideology of the officers and the workers in the northern region of the Republic is tainted.”

80 Managers and Officials Ousted from Wonsan city last year
Wonsan city in Kangwon Province saw approximately 80 business managers and party officials ousted last year. It was mostly rich managers working in the international trade sector, including the director of the Provincial Public Prosecutor’s Office, who were caught during the investigation. The investigation focused on rich people was so meticulous that anybody buying or building a new house was immediately placed under investigation.

[Society]
NK Squid Trapping Boat Captured by Russian Coast Guards
The squid trapping boat that had been reported as missing was discovered to have been detained by Russian coast guards while fishing off the coast of Lochang-Li, Chungjin City in North Hamgyong Province. The small boat with its six horsepower engine had crossed the Russian sea boarder on May 26. Upon catching the boat and its crew, the Russian authorities notified their North Korean counterparts. All detainees were part-time workers and are reportedly laboring for the Russian coast guard.

Squid Fishing Season is Here and Pirates are Rampant in the East Coast
As the season for squid catching nears, pirates, commonly called, 'Sea Pirates' are also dominating the scene. On June 17, a ship belonging to the Uerangchun power station became a target for a sea robbery off the seaboard of North Hamgyong Province. The crew consisting of five part-time workers was completely stripped of all of their possessions. The pirates’ ship was made of iron and one meter taller than the fishing boat. They threatened the squid catchers with guns and knives. Aside from stealing the freshly caught squid, the pirates also stripped the fishing boat of its engine parts, batteries, six squid nets and other smaller hand tools, but fortunately, no one was injured. However on the same day, crewmembers of two other ships that have been similarly attacked by pirates off the shore of Chungjin City were not so lucky. Aside from being stripped of their catch they were also beaten by the sea pirates.
Shin Jung-Hak (50's) asserted that these sea pirates had to be members of the naval forces. He added, "Going out to sea is heavily restricted, so ordinary people would not be able to make it out this far. The only people who can access the sea are most likely naval guards. Clad in civilian attire, they attack while we are fishing, and if we do not succumb to their demands easily, then they use knives and swords to threaten us further. They all wear civilian cloth.”

People’s Hospital of Pyongwon County is at High Risk of Collapse
The People’s Hospital of Pyongwon County in South Pyongan Province is found to be at high risk of collapse due to shoddy construction. This building is relatively new being less than 2 years old, but repairs have already begun to fix cracks all around the walls. An employee of the hospital stated, “The only emphasis was on the schedule and speed of construction. Although they finished the construction within the scheduled time frame, there was very little care placed in quality. Even the eaves of the roof on the 3rd floor of the main building where the general care units are located have cracks. The County Housing Construction and Maintenance Enterprise is repairing these cracks, but the engineers did not specify how long this building could last. Due to lack of emphasis on building quality, and over emphasis on showing off the end product, scarce national resources were wasted. Despite the repairs, this building faces imminent collapse. Building engineers have insisted that the building should be demolished and rebuilt rather than continuing to invest in ad hoc repairs, which only temporarily resolves the problem; however, the county government urged them to continue with the repairs.”

“The Current Food Situation is Tantamount to that of Arduous March” -Officials of Grain Policy Division of South Hamgyong Province
In June of last year, officials of the provincial grain policy division of South Hamgyong Province met in Hamgheung and conceded in unison that, “The current food situation is tantamount to that of that of Arduous March.” One official attended the meeting pointed out one difference that, “Now many farmers in the countryside are dying, whereas during the Arduous March those who died were mostly city dwellers.” He added, “Malnourished farmers usually could not go to work and many die in their homes. Those who can endure the hunger barely come to work as well.” Another official said, “We have set this year’s food plan goal at six to seven million tons. However, if we cannot harvest more than four million tons this year, we anticipate critical problems for the following year.” He said, “The government believes that North Korea will become a Strong and Prosperous Nation in 2012, which seems highly unlikely given the current food situation and the uncertainty that the food supply will last until the following year. The only solutions appear to lie in either receiving food aid from foreign governments or conducting direct trade with China and Russia.

[Women/Children/Education]
Women Allowed Market Activities after Completing a Term at “Special Labor Brigade”
The authorities of Shinam in Chungjin city, North Hamgyong Province, announced that women who complete their service at the construction site of Ehrangcheon power plant would be allowed selling in the market regardless of their age. Due to the lack of labor force for the construction, the authorities had been calling for volunteers for the Special Labor Brigade from each organization and factory, but people rarely responded. Even those who reluctantly volunteered often could not endure the harsh work conditions and came back, saying “Let alone the hard labor, eating little food with almost no nutrition was very hard to bear. The situation of the members of the Democratic Women's Union who support their families is even worse than male factory workers. In Shinam in Chungjin city, the authorities decided to give permission to market activities as an incentive to women who volunteer for the Brigade. The authorities said any women having served their term in the Brigade would be allowed trading in the market regardless of their age. Moreover, in consideration of women’s role as the sole breadwinner in most households, the families of the women Brigade volunteers will be provided with food ration during their service. As a reference, the period of labor in the Brigade is 2 months and 20 days, and at the end of this period they are replaced.

[Accidents]
Part-time Fishing Boat of Oongjin County Shot by Coastal Guards
On May 17 of last year, a part-time fishing boat in Oongjin County of South Hwanghae Province was fired at by coastal guards and left three crewmen dead. For some reason the small fishing boat changed its direction into South Korean territorial waters, which caused the shots to be fired by the coastal guards. After the accident, the West Coast Fleet Headquarter General Staff of the Ministry of the People’s Armed Forces decreed that a coastal patrol boat is required to be on duty whenever a part-time fishing vessel sets out to sea. Coastal patrol boat will be on guard every 2 hours following the fishing boats.

[Investigative Report]
[Analysis of Public Lecture Material]
All Party Members Ought To Be in the Vanguard of Rousing Struggle to Heighten Our New Revolution
This is the Public Lecture Material published last March and it applies to all the party members. Each year appeals have been made to the party members to support the New Year’s Combined Editorial. What is different in the current Public Lecture Material compared to previous appeals is that there is a distinction made between ordinary party members and party leaders and “items to emphasize only to party leaders” are inserted separately. So far there has been no distinction and it is noticeable that party leaders are addressed separately. The other point is that the appeals are directed toward party leaders with heavy pressure. Until now appeals were general in nature. This time, however, party leaders feel the same way, believing, that “the tasks will be ‘intolerable’ to ‘hard to achieve.’” The intensity of the appeals has changed.

The material states that this is a watershed year that will determine the success or failure of becoming a Strong and Prosperous Nation, and consequently the party leaders should assume responsibility. In order for a Strong and Prosperous Nation to be possible, what is required are the party’s all-out attack, the nation’s all-out mobilization and the people’s all-out war with a ‘do-or-die’ spirit.
It might appear to have given separate tasks to the party, the nation and the people. However, the heart of the message is a simple point: Everyone ought to be a warrior with the “do-or-die” spirit guarding Dear Leader. Of course “guarding with “do-or-die spirit” is heard every year, but it seems to carry special weight this year.
If that is the case, how would “guarding with do-or-die spirit” be done this year? It was declared that it would be possible only for “practicing” party members. “Practicing party member” means “not a party member who makes a lofty pledge, but a party member who produces real results.” In other words, unlike the empty pledges of the past, party members are requested to produce results now. This request is unprecedented.

What is really meant by “guarding with ’do-or-die’ spirit” as requested by the party? It is defined as practicing warriors who produce plentiful fruits proudly in response to the Dear Leader’s hearty wishes for unusual speed and a vigorous leap forward with genuine dedication. Plainly put, it means that “Produce what the Dear Leader wishes promptly.” “Guarding with do-or-die spirit” means not only does one work on the task, but also one produces results. It means to carry out the tasks rightly as assigned by the Dear Leader.
Secondly, all party members should be the warriors leading an advance attack who blaze the paths of attack. The catchphrase has not changed much. However, its context is quite different. Times are past when the warriors of advance attack rely on empty fists. They need new speeds and new calls for a leap forward. Party members should create new standards based upon new principle. In other words, gaining speed requires abandoning the old existing standard and creating a new methodology.
Revolutionary pioneers need to adopt attitudes worthy of owners more than anything else. This statement is also an old cliché. The warrior of advance attack does not attempt to accomplish the task by himself but tries collective renovation by mobilizing the people. Simply put, do as the party members did during the Chollima Movement. How do we create new standards? Here self-viability is emphasized. How is self-viability accomplished? Science and technology is emphasized. It is claimed here that it is “the party character.” Without science and technology self-viability does not exist. Combining the two elements proves what level of party character the party member has. Without science and technology one cannot be a warrior of advance attack. Such a party member is not qualified to be “guarding with a do-or-die spirit.”
This is the basic core, and the party character of the party member will be evaluated on the basis of science and technology and the level of self-viability. Of course, until now, science and technology has been emphasized. But it was not done from the perspective of ‘party character.’ Now, ‘science and technology’ will be ‘the expression of party character’, that is, it will be used as a basis of evaluation on qualification as a party member.
Simply summarized, “guarding of the Dear Leader with a do-or-die’ spirit” based on science and technology makes self-viability possible. Self-viability alone can make a Strong and Prosperous Nation a reality. Only then is the party member qualified to be “guarding the Dear Leader with a do-or-die spirit.”
How are they to obtain such important science and technology? Economic development requires foreign funds and new technology. This requirement is facing an insurmountable wall at the moment. Since it cannot be achieved outside, the solution must be found domestically, out of nothing.
North Korean authorities seem to believe that the solution can be found through the “wisdom of people.” They believe the collective wisdom of the people can create new technology. As the saying goes, ‘the heads of ten shoe repairmen are better than a Jegallyang.”. Additionally, the inserts only for the party leaders mention “what the ardent party leaders of revolution are to do.” Four points are presented to enhance the roles of the party leaders.
First, design your assignment boldly. You do not just follow what others ask you to do, but design it with boldness. Second, think big. Third, be gutsy and courageous. Fourth, be ready for long and hard work.
In other words, set up your goals as if you would be ready and willing to move a mountain with your empty hands. Think big now that you will have to move the mountain. Plan in your own style and get ready for long and hard work. What all this implies, conversely, is that the party leaders have waited for orders to come and then they go through the motions of doing something.
Lastly, it requests party leaders to be the faithful servants of the people. The party leaders should make people use the term “we” when speaking with party leaders. How can we make people use the term “we” with party leaders? This is how it will be done: “All the party leaders do the hard work and let the people enjoy the fruits of work. While party leaders sit on the mat stinging and hard, let the people on the mat be adorned with flowers. Party leaders take care of people with motherly love. Party leaders must be faithful servants of people, who will genuinely express “we” with the leaders.”

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