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.”

North Korea Today No.286

RESEARCH INSTITUTE FOR NORTH KOREAN SOCIETY
http://www.goodfriends.or.kr
[Weekely Newsletter] No.286 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]
“Even Scarier Are Invisible Deaths Due to Starvation”
“It Is So Pitiful That People Kill To Eat”
“Dangerously Daring Acts Are The Only Options Left To Survive”

[Food]
Industrial Equipment Factory in Heechun City has Suspended Food Rations since April—Absenteeism a Growing Problem
A Meal for a Farm Worker in Jungjoo County Consists of as much as Chicken Feed

[Economy]
An Elderly Woman Established a Daycare Center that Earns 6,000 Won a Day
Heungnam Fertilizer Factory Completed Fertilizer Distribution to All Provinces

[Politics]
“The Whole World Watches Us” Mass Conference
“Ten-Day Discipline” Punishment Threatened During 150-Day Battle Assessment
Government Officials, Writing and Rewriting Self-Criticism Papers
“The Official’s Self-Criticism Papers for the Purpose of Remission”

[Society]
“You can only work as someone’s servant if you have no money.”
People Fainted due to Sunstroke at the Mass Rally Commemorating 6.25
Furloughs Granted to Military Officers on the verge of Getting Divorce to Bring Their Wives Back

[Women/Children/Education]
Evaluating the performance of staff members at Wonsan Economic College

[Accidents]
Security Guard Protecting Potatoes Dies after Being Beaten by Soldiers
Group of Robbers Acting Like Police Officers Finally Caught

[Commentary]
Any Solutions for Fatalities from Chronic Malnutrition?

________________________________________________________
[Hot Topics]
“Even Scarier Are Invisible Deaths Due to Starvation”
A party leader in Wonsan, Kangwon Province admitted that the province keeps witnessing deaths from starvation this year and said, “Even scarier are invisible deaths due to starvation.” He continued, “Kangwon Province keeps witnessing, since last year until now, deaths from starvation. Deaths from starvation started from last spring and continued until summer. They reached a peak towards the end of September through the end of October last fall. The general public felt abandoned. Residents became scared and shaken. Many people who suffered from severe hunger became so weak physically. As fall harvest brought something to eat, they filled their stomachs to the limit. They ended up with indigestion problems, and many of them lost their lives. The situation improved a little towards the end of November, and the number of deaths in the counties and cities temporarily stopped. As of June, deaths continued to occur throughout all the rural areas of Kangwon Province. According to the hospital physicians, almost 100% of the patients from the rural areas show signs of malnutrition and severe physical weakness. The physicians believe all these patients can be cured simply by being fed with high protein foods, rather than any medication. Massive deaths as happened last year did not occur this time, but even scarier are invisible deaths like these. Nobody seems to care about the situation. Consequently nobody will ever know how many are dying.” A physician at the city hospital is really worried, saying “Chronic malnutrition reduced stomach functions and many people ended up with swollen bodies. When this happens, the person’s body has been dehydrated and perspiration occurs with no physical activity. The person’s urine becomes red because of a lack of food. When the body is swollen, the person absolutely should not eat any food. Those who died last fall were individuals with severe symptoms of malnutrition. People with such symptoms should receive nutrition through injection, not solid food into the stomach. Our hospital treats them, first with liquid used for making tofu, and then soft porridge. This procedure restores weak bodies. This explains why there were so many who died last fall. We see a lot of people this year whose stomachs have difficulty functioning.”

“It Is So Pitiful That People Kill To Eat”
Early last June a married couple from Chungjin, North Hamgyong Province was executed in public on charges of murder. Kim Jaegeum (pseudonym, 50s) of Soobok Dong who used to be in the same neighborhood unit said that they killed a man because they didn’t have anything to eat. He continued, “This couple did not have anything to eat at home. It became their habit to skip meals every day. Around nine o’clock one evening, they decided to rob a man. They struck a man with a club. The victim died. They searched for money in the dead man’s pocket but could not find any money. They were so insanely hungry that they made a huge mistake. They decided to eat human flesh. They boiled the flesh of the dead man. They were arrested a few days later. They are not innately evil. They could not stand the severe pangs of hunger anymore. Perhaps they deserve to die in order to pay for their crime. On the other hand, it is so pitiful that good people have to suffer to the extent that they killed a man to get something to eat.” Many people who witnessed the public execution expressed great concern, “There were many instances when people were executed in public after they killed a man and ate human flesh during the days of Arduous March. Now, these are occurring again.”

“Dangerously Daring Acts Are The Only Options Left To Survive”
Jung Cho-ok (43) of Hwasung County, North Hamgyong Province, told us the story about a case of theft of grains for the military that occurred last January. It was something that happened to a person whom he was close to so it was more painful. The story goes like this:
“Byongil (pseudonym, 23) is a young man who is handsome, takes care of himself and is a little playful. His parents died during the days of Arduous March and he is the sole survivor in the family. I used to provide him with some food. But I could not continue it after a few times because I myself did not have enough. Consequently he survived by stealing since he was young. I could not say anything to him about it because I saw it as his only option. Somehow last year at a young age when he did not experience a real life, he met an eighteen year-old-girl, and they got married. A boy married a girl. They did not own anything. They could not afford a wedding ceremony, not even a wedding picture. They just started their life together . This year a daughter was born, and she looks really cute, like her father. The whole family seemed to be happy. Until that point, his livelihood depended on stealing from peddlers. As the level of business declined, there were fewer peddlers. This reduced his income quite a bit. He went through a lot of agony because there were ‘nothing to steal’ anymore. In the meantime, a few days before the Lunar New Year’s Day, a train arrived at Ryongban Station. This train was heading to Pyongyang, full of grains for the military. According to Byongil’s wife, he lost sleep for several nights trying to figure out how to steal rice from the train. Anyhow, the train stayed at the station for three days. It was two o’clock in the morning when the train left the station. It was discovered that Byongil got help from two of his buddies. They boarded the moving train and had more than twenty sacks of rice thrown onto the path along the tracks before the train reached the next station. The three men threw themselves from the fast moving train, with some minor injuries. The three successfully gathered up all the sacks of rice along the path. They spent the following day sleeping. They then sold two sacks of rice to buy beef and liquor for their feast. They really enjoyed their ‘glorious’ endeavor with a party, singing and dancing. Then out of the blue on January 25 came the day of reckoning. Who could have guessed that the train would be back? The guards found out about the missing rice sacks. Every single grain should be accounted for the military provisions. They realized that there would be no other option but their execution if they could not catch the thieves. They found the traces of rice on the path. Additionally they located a witness. A farm worker saw the three stealing rice and demanded five sacks of rice for keeping quiet. However, Byongil thought that the train had already left the station, and there would be nothing to worry about. So he refused the farm worker’s demand without any consideration. How greedy! This farm worker filed a report in anger. Byongil ran away and avoided arrest, but two of his buddies got caught. Byongil is the main schemer and will be executed if arrested. There is no doubt about it. What is really miserable is Byongil’s wife, now with a little child to take care of. I am not blaming Byongil, because I know him well personally. This whole thing is not about Byongil’s evil character. It is the reality of North Korea that dangerous, daring acts are only options left to survive. All the healthy people cannot be engaged in peddling. Small plot farming is prohibited. What else is left but the road to unlawful activities? There is no other option. I do not know what lies ahead.”

[Food]
Industrial Equipment Factory in Heechun City has Suspended Food Rations since April—Absenteeism a Growing Problem
Since the industrial equipment factory in Heechun City, Jagang Province has suspended food rations in April; laborers have hastily acquired small plots of farmland causing an increase in absenteeism at the factory. Due to the fact that this factory produces military supplies, the distribution of food rations has been relatively consistent. The director of the Bureau of Machinery of the Second Economic Committee became aware of this situation while touring the ‘150-Day Battle’ site. Subsequently, a report was filed to the provincial party on the workers’ growing diversion from factory work to farming, claiming to dampen the spirit of the campaign. In response to the report, the provincial party ordered prosecutors to investigate and punish the forest inspectors who permitted the use of the small plots. The prosecutors had four inspectors of the Forest Utility Team relieved of their positions and sentenced to six months of labor with no pay. The small plots of land farmed by workers of the Industrial Equipment factory were confiscated and transferred to neighboring farms and military units. The officials believed that confiscating the plots would allow the workers to return to the factory. “Because of the cease in the distribution of food rations, the small plots were our only hope. Now even this is taken away. What are we supposed to do? Are we supposed to starve to death? We cannot understand the authorities,” protested the laborers.

A Meal for a Farm Worker in Jungjoo County Consists of as much as Chicken Feed
In Jungjoo County, North Pyongan Province, some farm workers are crying out that they cannot do any work because of hunger. The farmers claimed that, “It is the busiest time on the farms and we need all the energy we can get, but we eat as much as chickens eat. We don’t have any strength.” Kim Junggook (50s), a farm worker said, “Our farm workers say they are so hungry. The average family consumes only 30g of corn at each meal; not much more than chicken feed.” He added, “Some farm workers do not report to work because of hunger. However, if they continue to miss work, they will be sent to a forced labor camp by the Li authority.” One farm leader disagreed and stated that, “That is not the only thing we have received to eat. At the end of last year, everyone received food rations. The 30g of corn was for lunch in addition to what was rationed.” Other farm workers retorted, “Nonsense! How many households still have any rations left from the last distribution? Farm leaders might have received enough to last several months, but we received very little after setting aside military provisions. Many families have already run out of food.”

[Economy]
An Elderly Woman Established a Daycare Center that Earns 6,000 Won a Day
Lee Boon-Soon (70s, Alias) from Joorye-Dong in Pyungsung City, South Pyungan Province makes about 6,000 NK won a day by operating a daycare center. She charges 300 NK won for each child and takes care of about 20 children a day. We asked why mothers send their children to a daycare center facility like hers instead of a preschool and Lee answered, “Public daycare or preschool facilities asks for so much extra monies for this and that. That’s why mothers do not send their children to these facilities. Mothers come here because private daycare center like my facility charge the same 300 NK won without charging them any extras.”

Heungnam Fertilizer Factory Completed Fertilizer Distribution to All Provinces
Fertilizers produced by Heungnam Fertilizer Factory in South Hamgyong Province were distributed to all provinces. Last June 10, approximately 13,000 tons of fertilizers were delivered to the Farming Management Commission in South Pyungan Province; 16,500 tons to South Hwanghae Province; 10,000 tons to North Hamgyong Province; 7,000 tons to Ryanggang Province and 8,500 tons to Jagang Province. Secretary of the Guidance Department called the party in each city and province to instruct that, “They should set up a thorough plan to prevent any fraud or personal use of the fertilizers during conveyance. In accordance with the order, police officers and security agents were in charge of guarding the fertilizers from the railroad station to the appropriate farms. If anything should happen to the fertilizer during the transport process, all responsible farm workers and police officers would punished according to the legal provisions, they were warned.

[Politics]
“The Whole World Watches Us” Mass Conference
North Korea is at the height of the 150-day battle. The following has been stated in a mass conference to fuss over the work: “At this time, the whole world watches us. The world is showing great interest in how North Korea conducts the 150-day battle. We are not strengthening national defense anymore but instead, we are focusing on improving the lives of the people. In order to show what we are doing now, we must support the rural villages and do our job well. Our General led the 70-day battle and the 200-day battle to victory in 1974, and this 150-day battle is also a battle that has historical significance. It will be engraved upon the history of our party as it will open the gate of the Strong and Prosperous Nation.”

“Ten-Day Discipline” Punishment Threatened During 150-Day Battle Assessment
The national Democratic Women’s Union (DWU) is recording an “honorable 150-day battle memorandum” every day and considers it in the assessment. People who properly participate in the battle will have no problem, but other people will receive an ideological indoctrination through “10-day discipline punishment” as soon as the assessment is finished. Through “10-day discipline punishment,” people who behave poorly will be gathered and educated using various ideological programs. Starting at 8 o’clock in the morning, the people who are punished with the 10-day discipline punishment will undergo ideological education, such as “the great leader Kim Il-Sung’s instruction” and “the General’s message.” They will write a self-criticism for three days and will write the resolution every day. In the afternoon, they will be disciplined with labor. Kim, Sung-Sook (40s), who lives in Sinuiju, North Pyongan Province, describes how shuddering the experience is. “They badger us so much, so once the DWU members experience the badgering, they do not want to experience it again.” she says.

Government Officials, Writing and Rewriting Self-Criticism Papers
Government officials nowadays are so busy writing self-criticism papers that they cannot do anything else. Every day they are required to write three self-criticism papers. If any of the papers do not meet standards, they have to be rewritten. “Can a completely broken down system be fixed by doing this?” asks one official from Pyongyang. He told the following tale: “Since all the government officials and party officials read ‘the Red Letter,’ which had been sent privately to all of them, officials have begun writing self-criticism papers listing all their faults, even minor ones, in the last three years. It is truly a frustrating business. The officials are supposed to focus on their activity of accepting bribes and write about them. During the mandatory political lectures, we are told that the officials are the pillars of this nation and that because they are giving favors to people based on money, power, or personal acquaintance, the talented individuals are being wasted and the nation’s progress is delayed. But, when people hear this, their reaction is that of a jeer – ‘There is nothing new in this talk. It is already a fixture of our society. Do they expect to change this social trend with these talks? Do they really think that they are able to straighten out the crooked landscape?’ The reality is that even the directive officers from Central Party who visited all the regions of the country for the 150-Day Battle accepted bribes.”
Last June 19, the Propaganda Department of Pyungsung City in South Pyongan Province held a lecture for all the officials and party members as well. Its content can be summarized like this: “The current officials and judges are taking bribes, and by doing so, they are creating an anti-socialistic environment and terrorizing the public with legal oppression. There should be no more cases of this abuse happening.” And then they were told to write self-criticism papers detailing all their errors in the last three years. It is expected that the whole party should express its remorse. Due to such expectations, all the officials go to the 150-Day Battle during the day and write self-criticism papers during the evening.

“The Official’s Self-Criticism Papers for the Purpose of Remission”
One official from Pyongyang commented that punishment is not the only purpose for writing the self-criticisms. It has the effect of giving an official a pardon from any number of unlawful activities he committed once he confesses them. He said, “Once an official confesses to his crimes, the party council lets him pass, but keeps the evidence. Since high-ranking officials receive large amounts of bribes, there are more chances that their misdeeds will become public. But, if they turn themselves in, then the law does not punish them as if they are completely innocent. For them to have a new beginning, the remission of their offenses is provided. That is why, for the officials, writing self-criticism papers is not such a bad thing.” However, because these officials still receive bribes through different means and methods, there is almost no one who experiences the new beginning.

[Society]
“You can only work as someone’s servant if you have no money.”
Nowadays, North Korean people are voicing the opinion that “Rich people make money using money, and poor people can only work as someone’s servant.” Ham, Bong-soon (age 45) who resides in Chungjin, North Hamgyong Province told the story she witnessed. “There is a snack store at 48 Ban, Soobook Dong in Chungjin City. In that store they hire women without a job or poor children who cannot even afford porridge and pay wages to them. In general, their age ranges from 15 to 22. One day I went there to buy some snack and became very surprised. They get up at 4 in the morning, eat just a spoonful of cold rice without soup, don’t even get a break throughout the day, work until 10pm, and go to bed at 11pm. They say they make about 890 to 1,000 NK won per day. That’s like not even half kg of rice even though they come to work with packed lunch on their own. Some of the children suffer from tuberculosis, and other children suffer from constipation. Strictly speaking, they have more loss than gain. However, the store doubled the profit by selling the snack at high price while paying low wages. The owners had extravaganza weddings for their daughters. There were rumors that the daughters are neither pretty nor smart, but they were able to find well qualified men as groom because they are rich. I realize that there is nothing you cannot do if you have money.”

People Fainted due to Sunstroke at the Mass Rally Commemorating 6.25
Last June 24th, there was a mass rally in Sariwon, North Hwanghae Province. The rally was about calling for the withdrawal of US military forces who provoked the 6.25 Korean War and denouncing Lee, Myoung-bak regime in South Korea. On that day, as many as 5 people fainted due to sunstroke at the site of mass rally. They were 3 men and 2 women, and the medical team at the site gave emergency treatments. People at the site said, “More people would have fainted if people stood there for another 10 more minutes. People fainted because they had to stand for a long time under strong sunlight especially when they had not eaten well. I wish there was no more such a rally as this.” Suh, Mi-jung (30s) who fainted that day received an injection as soon as she got home. However, she could only regain consciousness next day morning perhaps because of the side effect from the injection. On the same day, there was the same type of mass rally in front of Kim, Il-sung’s statue in Pohang district, Chungjin city, North Hamgyong Province. This site also had as many as 12 people fainted because of sunstroke. One of them, a 55-year-old man, who lives in Namgang 2 Dong, died due to severe cerebral hemorrhage.

Furloughs Granted to Military Officers on the verge of Getting Divorce to Bring Their Wives Back
In the 10th and 7th regiments of the 5th division of the 5th Corps in Kangwon Province there are as many as 20 military officers who are on the verge of divorce. Last March, military bases issued orders to young officers under the age of 38, asking them to send their wives to their parents’ home when the food situation became very difficult. As a result, they had to live separately not knowing when to be reunited. After five months passed they were allowed to bring them back. Most of the women returned, but some of them refused to come back to their husband saying, “I can no longer live with a military officer who can’t even get food.” As such, the officers went to their wife’s parents’ house, but as many as 18 officers came back alone. Last June 10, the political committee members of each division gathered the 18 officers and issued a special order of bringing their wives back. “Why can’t you bring your own wife back when the whole country is supporting the military with the ‘military first’ policy. We will grant you furloughs again. Bring your wives back. There can never be a divorce for a military officer when we give the first priority to the People’s Army with the ‘military first’ policy.”

[Women/Children/Education]
Evaluating the performance of staff members at Wonsan Economic College
In response to the rising concern of decreasing quality of education, Jung-Joon-Taek Wonsan Economic College, located in the city of Wonsan in Kangwon Province, has began to evaluate the performance of staff members including Ph.D.s and professors starting on June 15th. According to one of the evaluation workers, the result of the evaluation showed that personnel who were 28-35 years of age received high ratings, while those over 35 years of age performed at a level equivalent to that of undergraduates. One member of the college staff provided another perspective on the evaluation, stating that “Prior to the biannual evaluation, high-level evaluators at the Department of Education usually prepare a blacklist of school personnel. They are not straightforward about it, but do say that we (the evaluators) ‘should evaluate such and such a person carefully for the better of the party committee.’ As a result, the evaluators feel that they need to lay off some faculty members. After this year’s evaluation, many young staff members were promoted, while the older ones were ordered to be laid off. The older workers are not near their retirement age, but by the looks of it, it seems as if the process was designed to shift employment from the older to the younger generation.”

[Accidents]
Security Guard Protecting Potatoes Dies after Being Beaten by Soldiers
On June 2nd, a security guard working at the Collective Farm of Hwangju-town, Hwangju County, North Hwanghae Province, died after being beaten by a soldier thief. The attackers, who were found to be four soldiers of the 4.25 training institute, were arrested by security agents. The soldiers said, “At first, we kindly begged the security guard of the 2nd work unit to give us good potatoes. We asked for two packs of potatoes because it was one of our squad member’s birthday, but he didn’t listen to our request so we got angry and attacked.” The security guard who was beaten died from a visceral cleft during the second day of treatment.

Group of Robbers Acting Like Police Officers Finally Caught
A group of robbers who have acted like police officers in Jangyeon county, South Hwanghae Province, were arrested. The nine group members have been pretending to be police officers by wearing police uniforms and inspecting passersby to feed off of bribes and steal people’s belongings. Most of the time, three men usually impersonated as uniformed officers and conducted false inspection while the other six thieves followed them around to carry the stolen goods and later sold them in other areas. Their sale networks branched all the way from South to North Hwanghae Province and were able to make a huge profit. They were finally arrested on June 8th in Baecheon County, South Hwanghae Province. After hearing this news, the residents of Jangyeon city said, “This just shows how easily the officers have been making money off of the citizens. Because of the officers’ past actions, these incidents are happening.”

[Commentary]
Any Solutions for Fatalities from Chronic Malnutrition?
Fatalities from chronic malnutrition are progressing as we speak. North Koreans say that current deaths from starvation are ‘invisible deaths.’ They say the dead bodies are not easily found on the streets, or at the station and markets as in 1998. However, this does not suggest that people are not dying from starvation. Many people are dying on the mountains, in the fields, and in their homes alone. That is, people are dying slowly because of chronic malnutrition. When a person’s hunger reaches the point of severity when death seems imminent because of starvation, it is believed that anything will look edible. During the days of Arduous March, there were many testimonies about starving North Koreans eating human flesh. Those charged with the crime of eating human flesh were executed in public. Many dare to do very dangerous things, risking their lives without hesitation. Many realize that the risks will lead to certain execution. Examples include stealing military provisions, cutting off telephone lines, and killing bulls for food. During the middle of the 1990s, even though those crimes were considered capital offenses, many committed such crimes and were summarily executed. Alarmingly, those tragic instances are now being repeated in 2009. One may argue that instances of eating human flesh are isolated cases, occurring among only the very few extreme poor who went insane because of severe pangs of hunger. However, it really does not matter whether there is only one case or two. That cannibalism occurs at all during extended period of food crisis is a serious concern. Detailed analysis of many testimonies that more people died during the fall, a time of harvest, than during spring, supposedly a much more difficult period, reveals that the main cause of death is chronic malnutrition. In other words, stomachs, severely reduced in their functionality, cannot handle any food. A sudden intake of food after a long period of starvation causes stomach problems, even fatalities. Extreme cases such as ‘eating human flesh’ are supposedly ‘easily visible’. One can only imagine, then, how many ‘invisible deaths’ are behind a ‘visible extreme instance.’ As North Korea’s food crisis has extended itself over a period of twenty years, suffering caused by chronic malnutrition has increased. What is painful is that the real picture of this entire tragedy remains hidden. So far, even though the international community has provided imminent aid to a so-called ‘confirmed situation’ - which represents a visibly confirmed situation of massive starvation – the global community has shown relatively little interest in the invisible situation of ‘chronic malnutrition.’ Admittedly, providing aid to North Korea has not been easy where it is difficult to have a firm grasp over the actual situation. The current international financial crisis has resulted in an overall reduction of support by the World Food Program. Additionally, North Korea’s nuclear tests have made the situation worse. Aid programs toward North Korea have been reduced to a third of the level of support that existed previously. On July 1, the U.S. Department of State announced that more additional support towards North Korea would not be made available because of difficulties in monitoring the flow of aid and accessing. Under these circumstances, any possibility of hope and encouragement to North Korean residents must now come from us. Aside from political differences with the North Korean government, a social consensus should be reached to solve the issue of survival for North Korean residents. Both authorities in North and South Korea should wipe away the tears of twenty million North Korea residents suffering from the agonies of starvation. What else could better demonstrate love for humanity and love for our people? The South Korean government should be ready to provide emergency aid for the spring hardship period. Both North and South Korean authorities should work together to prepare a long-term solution for the chronic malnutrition. The current political situation does not present any possibilities in the foreseeable future. Nevertheless, the reason for not abandoning hope is that we are the only hope the North Koreans have. If we lose hope, they will only have hopelessness.

North Korea Today No.285

RESEARCH INSTITUTE FOR NORTH KOREAN SOCIETY
[Weekely Newsletter] No.285 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]
Women Not Wearing Skirts under Control with Regulation during 150-Day Battle
Women Wear Skirts on Top of Pants to Evade Inspection
Skirts with Flowery Patterns - Targets of Ideology Strife

[Food]
The Gaechun United Mining Enterprise Suspended Food Rations Starting Late Last May

[Economy]
Increase in Land Area through the Land Management Project Reaps No Impact on Production
Production Shrank by 20% at the Gilju Pulp Factory

[Politics]
Assessing the Unemployed and Unaffiliated Residents
The 100-Day Battle Will Start After the 150-Day Battle
The Party Members Are Busy with Secret Documents and Writing a Self-Criticism
"Thought there will be no burden other than tax"

[Society]
Scuffles increase as Market Control Strengthens
Gangs Sent to the Shock Troop Brigade to be Disciplined
The First Question Women ask at a Blind Date, “The goat went to the mountain? And the baby stroller is strong? “
Elderlies Abused by Their Children

[Women/Children/Education]
Teaching Staff Punished after Taking Bribe in Student Selection for Performance in Pyongyang

[Accidents]
Company President Arrested for Doing Drug Business with Company Money

[Commentary]
Not Allowing Women to Wear Pants is Gender Discrimination

________________________________________________________
[Hot Topics]
Women Not Wearing Skirts under Control with Regulation during 150-Day Battle
Even during the 150-day battle period, inspections on the women’s clothing are being conducted everywhere. North Korean authorities are forcing women to wear skirts, to such an extent that women not wearing skirts are banned to enter the markets. Women appeal that skirts are so inconvenient at work during the full-blown mobilization period. Naturally most women prefer wearing pants to skirts because pants allow more freedom in movement. In response, authorities organized disciplinary teams with Youth Union, Democratic Women’s Union and Students to inspect women’s clothing. Any woman without wearing skirt will be placed in forced labor, and consequently women have to wear skirts when they go out. Women in City of Nampo, South Pyongan Province, complain in unison, “All the streets are covered with disciplinary teams. No women, not only peddlers but also those going for shopping at the markets, are allowed into the market if they are not wearing skirts. Wouldn’t it be better to wear the most convenient clothes in order to raise productivity during the 150-day battle period? Why do they insist women wearing skirts which most women consider inconvenient?”

Women Wear Skirts on Top of Pants to Evade Inspection
Forced to wear skirts, women with no skirts have to borrow them whenever they go out. Some women put pants on and wear skirts similar to a large sack on top of it. On June 12th, Lee, Ok-hwa (30s) in Nampo City, South Pyongan Province, told us the following episode. “It was my turn to sweep the street for a week then. I went out to the street at five in the morning with a sweeper. I found five Kkotjebi’s with dirty clothes on digging up in the trash bins. On the other side of the street, a male member of a disciplinary team was inspecting everyone carrying luggage on bicycles. A little later, another member of the disciplinary team started inspecting women’s clothing. One of the members shouted at a woman who seems to have come from rural area to peddle vegetable, ‘Why are you wearing pants?’ As soon as the women heard the shout, they touched their waists and let their rolled up skirts down, and their pants disappeared. The male member of the disciplinary team instantly seemed amazed. He then motioned the women to move on. After the women moved a few steps, they exploded in laughter. The sight of women laughing was so sweet. At the same time, I heard a complaint from behind me, ‘I thought I could earn a pack of cigarette. I am out of luck from the dawn.’ ”

Skirts with Flowery Patterns - Targets of Ideology Strife
Even with skirts, some women are not fine. Especially some young women who are anxious to display their beauty want to wear miniskirts and skirts with rather colorful flowery patterns. The problem is that those skirts are now the targets for control and ideology strife. Skirts fit in ethos of Korean people, and are elegant and beautiful. And that is the reason why pants worn by women are not allowed. However, miniskirts and skirts with flowery patterns are considered for women with “rotten ideology.” Especially, those pants, such as tight pants or bell-bottomed trousers are not in Korean fashion, but in a vulgar capitalistic fashion, and therefore they should be rejected. Han, Myung-joo (pseudonym, 20s), a student at a medical college in Sinuiju, North Pyongan Province, had to pay a fine after a clothing inspection. She complained with a criticism, “Everything in this country is under control, from the top of head to the bottom of feet. Hair shouldn’t be long. Hair shouldn’t be loosened. Permanent wave shouldn’t be done on hair. Wouldn’t freedom and beauty be the most desired for women at my age? No matter what control may be carried out, young women will try to evade the control and do how they would like to do at any cost. This reality should not be ignored and neglected.” Suh, Hwa-yung (pseudonym, 20s), student at the same college with Ms. Han, added, “Wouldn’t it be nice to follow the customs of other countries if they are good? Why do we insist that only ours are the best? Everyone has his or her own way of seeing or enjoying things. I wish they didn’t care about what women wear, miniskirts or tight pants. If young people were lectured on not ‘to follow fad,’ they will find their way to do it. That is why the control does not have any effect.”

[Food]
The Gaechun United Mining Enterprise Suspended Food Rations Starting Late Last May
The Gaechun United Mining Enterprise, in South Pyongan Province, has suspended food rations since late last May. Additionally mines No.2 and No.3 have been out of operation since June 7. Authorities at the Enterprise are using police to force miners to return to work, as attendance has decreased, even though they are in the middle of the 150-day battle. The Deputy General Manager, in an address to the miners, appealed to the miners to "overcome the food crisis until the end of June." The Primary Party Secretary and public relations workers tried to motivate the workers with a catchphrase reading, “Let’s overcome the food crisis through revitalization." Because the miners' wives are unable to find goods to peddle in the market, they have turned to raising pigs and chickens, but they report it is not doing much to improve their living conditions. Having previously depended on food rations from the Mining Enterprise, people are no longer even able to afford porridge. As a result, many miners come to work without having eaten breakfast.

[Economy]
Increase in Land Area through the Land Management Project Reaps No Impact on Production
According to the Bureau of Estates and Farm Land Management, more than nine years have passed since the launching of the Land Management Project. However, this has not led to an increase in crop production running contrary to expectations that increased farm lands would lead to higher production. “Only land area has increased, but there were no developments made to improving the quality of the land”, one official stated. There are instances of where newly cultivated farms and fields are experiencing water shortages. Rice paddies are being planted, however, due to poor access to water crop yields are suffering. On the other hand, some farmers claim that the poor crop yields cannot be solely attributed to land quality asserting that an increase in land will undoubtedly result in increased yields. Other farmers believe that this problem arises from the inadequate distribution of topsoil. One farmer commented, “During the land organization, the topsoil was deposited in a single area rather than being spread evenly as it should have been, because it was considered to be too cumbersome at the time. One cannot expect high production from land that lacks nutrients. In order to create arable land, we need to fertilize the soil, but this is prohibited.” Nevertheless, private farms are doing well, “Private farmers spread the topsoil and use fertilizers at whatever cost so it’s only natural for them to yield higher production,” he added.

Production Shrank by 20% at the Gilju Pulp Factory
Production at the Gilju Pulp factory in Hamgyong Province shrunk by 20%, attributed primarily to the shortage of raw materials, but also due to under compensated workers. Deprived of food rations for several years, many factory workers have resorted to stealing paper from the factory, which can be sold at 2,200 NK won per kilo. Despite factory inspections and security closely monitoring the workers, good quantities of paper have already been stolen, resulting in a seeming decrease in production. Approximately, 300-350 kg of paper is stolen every day. Last year, two kg of paper was worth 2 kg of whole corn. Despite tighter inspections and an increase in overall production, the reduction in supply has caused the price of paper to rise this year. Workers who are caught stealing are punished with no pay for one month and are mandated to do extra work in the factory after completing their regular 8-hour shift. In addition to these punishments, they would be reprimanded and humiliated in front of their colleagues. Factory workers complain, however, that higher executives steal much more paper than the workers.
Electricity Generation Dropped by 40% at the Dae-Ryeng-Gang No. 2 Power plant in Taechun County
Electricity generation at the Dae-Ryeng-Gang No.2 power plant in Taechun County in North Pyongan Province was reported to have fallen by more than 40% below last year’s levels. A four month research conducted by the facility on the levels of generation beginning in October 2008 showed output to have decreased sharply. One official stated, “Due to the continuous malfunction of the first turbine, we spend more time repairing than operating the machines. Nevertheless, those who work there, including the manager and the technicians, hunker down rather than try to repair the malfunctions. Everyone fears being blamed for failing to fix it, which is likely given the lack of adequate parts and skills.” Despite the sharp decrease, the plant capacity is too small to affect the overall supply of electricity for the people in North Pyongan Province.

[Politics]
Assessing the Unemployed and Unaffiliated Residents
The authorities initiated an investigation as there were unverified residents among the members of the workshop union during the 150-day battle. Although the list of the participants among the members of the party, Youth Union, and Democratic Women’s Union is 100% verifiable, a substantial number of residents in each county are unemployed or do not belong to the union. One officer estimated that there are at least 100 unemployed and unaffiliated residents in each county, although there may be variations in each region. Accordingly, the North Korean authorities mobilized the Neighborhood Units to thoroughly verify the members of the workshop once again and to correctly assess the list of unemployed and unaffiliated people and their actual conditions.

The 100-Day Battle Will Start After the 150-Day Battle
On June 8th, the managerial officials from the Central Party and the cabinet gathered and held a meeting with the theme “To build a Strong and Prosperous Nation.” A decision was made in this meeting that the 100-day battle will start after the end of the 150-day battle. On the following day, the leading secretaries and the chairmen of the People’s Committee of the City and Provincial Parties received the first notice via telephone and afterwards, an official document of the above announcement was released.

The Party Members Are Busy with Secret Documents and Writing a Self-Criticism
The Party Central Committee released a “policy to strictly protect state secrets” to every member of the party. This policy was focused on the leading officials of the government and the military, and originates from the desire to root out all misconduct by 2012. The committee emphasized “not to disseminate a state secret, no matter how small it is” and announced that a stronger investigative committee than the Anti-Socialist Conscience Investigation will be established in order to control information. All official information except that which is reported in the mainstream mass media such as Rodong Shinmun newspaper, is considered a state secret. However, some secret documents, mostly about events of national interest such as the U.S. espionage case, are published.
In addition, the Party Central Committee delivered a bulletin to every member of the party that stated, “Our country does not require payment of taxes, but there are occasions when some people use their power and political influence to burden the people with non-tax payments under various pretexts. The workers must maintain sound judgment, and the judicial officers must not take advantage of the situation by accepting bribes. The workers and the officials must oppose instances where they do not work for the people but for the private interest of an individual.” Accordingly, the members of the Party are writing a self-criticism in which they have to report their own misconduct while performing their duties. Also, the ideological basis will be scrutinized through self-criticism by writing an essay titled, “What are we supposed to do as members of the Party?”

"Thought there will be no burden other than tax"
“How to promote a project to touch up the village houses to become a military-first exemplary family by the end of September" was discussed at the meeting of heads of the Neighborhood Units in Pyongsung, South Pyongan Province. With help from the Democratic Women's Union, ideology education will continue so that all households can participate. If any family cannot meet expectations, they will be expelled from the area, according to the new policy. Therefore, each house needs to carry an extra burden of 20 sheets of leather, two pairs of gloves to support railroad, two clubs, 200 grams of wild edible greens, one kilogram of meat for the People's Army, 200 kilograms of power fertilizer, five kilograms of scrap iron, a bucket of gravel to pave a road, a five NK Won bill for procuring idle materials and two gunny sacks to support farms on top of the existing normal tax.
Citizens of Pyongsung said, "On the broadcast, the extra burden now being imposed, excluding taxes, is a violation of people's financial health. We will get rid of it, and they still ask so much." Residents no longer believe what the government says.

[Society]
Scuffles increase as Market Control Strengthens
In Hamhung, South Hamheng Province, market control has strengthened so that no one can sell goods other than farm products at the market. Some merchants are still trying to change their products while other merchants who could not change their goods are still secretly doing business around the market. There are approximately 200 merchants who sell prohibited goods such as manufactured goods and second hand clothing. The patrol at the markets has at least doubled with the intention of stopping the disorder as the inside and outside of the market is very crowded with lots of people. The female merchants and patrol party have recently been clashing, getting into arguments and even physical fights as market control has increased.
On the afternoon on June 13th, people witnessed patrol party members dragging a group of women who were selling clothes to a vacant lot. According to witnesses, "The patrol party dragged them like animals and threw them down.” However, the women did not want to lose their bundles of clothes and tried to fight back which resulted in a physical brawl. Seo Chuen-Sil (alias, 40's) who was at the scene said, "Those women who fought back were mad with anger. They even started to scratch and bite and ripped the military uniforms of the patrol officers. The patrol officers who were supposed to reinforce control ended up looking shabby and were humiliated by people.” Lee Yong-Ok (alias, 40's) said "Business is slow so everyone is worried about the bleak future as it is. Then the patrol officers come and disturb us so when they beat the citizens like dogs, of course people will be enraged. If it was me, I would have bitten off their arm and never let go even if my teeth broke off,” expressing displeasure about the harsh action by the patrol party.

Gangs Sent to the Shock Troop Brigade to be Disciplined
In Suncheon city, South Pyongan Province, citizens older than 17 years old from the Youth Union without a job and in a gang are being sent to the shock troop brigade to be disciplined.
25 young men who were caught from June 1st to 7th and the 26 men caught between the 7th and 16th have been gathered as a unit of the shock troop brigade. Since this movement has started, the number of young men and gang members placed into the shock troop brigade has reached about 200. These units will undertake the more physically difficult labor during the 150-day battle. Some wealthier families are paying hundred thousands NK won or more and using monetary bribes to take their child out of the shock troop brigade.

The First Question Women ask at a Blind Date, “The goat went to the mountain? And the baby stroller is strong? “
It becomes a trend that single ladies ask questions to dates when they meet for the first time. “The goat went to the mountain? Is the baby stroller strong?” The goat refers to father-in-law, who smokes. ‘The goat went to the mountain’ means father-in-law passed away. ‘Baby stroller’ refers to mother-in-law and the question ‘Is the baby stroller strong?’ means whether or not mother-in-law is healthy enough to work. In other words, young ladies want father-in-law to have passed away and mother-in-law to be healthy enough to look after kids or do business together. In these days, the age restriction on doing business makes them even work with any old ladies in the neighborhood. In this situation, mother-in-law who can work is regarded as an important person.

Elderlies Abused by Their Children
Some mother-in-laws are respected since they become very useful person. On the other hand, others are disrespected by their children because of poor financial situation. And the number of the last becomes increasing. Kim, Kyung-Hwa (40s) in Gangseo District, South Pyungan Province told us the story that happened in a neighborhood unit. “I saw unbelievable cases. An old lady in my neighbor got beaten by her son and bite by her daughter-in-law. The old lady got mad at her son and daughter-in-law so that she sold house-ware out to buy alcohol. This sort of case is very common. There is another example. Jae-Dong’s (pseudonym) family lived with grandfather whose wife already passed away. Because of loneliness, he seemed cranky very often that led more arguments and fight between him and his son. When a friend of their family’s needed 300,000 NK won desperately, Jae-Dong’s family gave the friend money in exchange of looking after Jae-Don’s father. It is the case that the family threw grandfather out. There was another old lady whose son took away her money and then kicked out on the street. After her daughter-in-law lost money in her business, daughter-in-law asked her to sell her house and give money to her. Daughter-in-law even promised her to take care of her. Once she offered her money to her daughter-in-law, she was not treated well and kicked out on the street. She ends up begging for money here and there nowadays.”

[Women/Children/Education]
Teaching Staff Punished after Taking Bribe in Student Selection for Performance in Pyongyang
North Hamgyong Province Art Institute in Chungjin City, North Hamgyong Province went through an audit and inspection because of bribery allegations. On June 13th, the school authorities rendered punishment for the teaching staff implicated in the bribery by demoting them to middle school teaching staff. The school selected 42 among the 3rd year students for the performance in Pyongyang. In this process some of the parents who are wealthy or high ranking official bribed teachers to get their children into the performance group. However, problems occurred when several students selected were too poor at playing the musical instruments to perform. The teaching staff tried to offer private lessons to these students. However, it was not easy to make them improve their skill in a short period of time. The officials in the school held a meeting to better understand what’s going on. They realized that they could lose face with this performance group in Pyongyang and they would be asked to take the responsibility for the misplay. The officials decided to punish the teaching staff and re-select the performance members. However, the parents of the students who weren’t selected were angry with the involved staffs. So the re-selecting process had to go through obstacles. The principal and vice-principal in Art Institute directed the bribed teaching staff to visit the angry parents and to offer an apology to them. They were barely able to reselect performance members and started practicing for the play in Pyongyang.

[Accidents]
Company President Arrested for Doing Drug Business with Company Money
The president of Ulrim Company of 116 troop maneuver in Chungjin City of North Hamgyong Province was arrested immediately because it was reveled that he misappropriated company money for some years. As a result of investigation, it was uncovered that he has not only misappropriated company funds but also deeply involved in drug dealing. Needless to say about drug dealing with company money, he also used company vehicle that goes to and from Hamheung for transporting the drugs. It was reported that the monetary figure he earned this way reached fiver hundred million NK won. Hearing the news, the residents said that it is the biggest mega case in North Hamgyong Province.

[Commentary]
Not Allowing Women to Wear Pants is Gender Discrimination
North Korean authorities have begun to tighten restrictions on women's clothing during the 150-day battle. Women are now required to wear skirts when they visit markets for shopping or peddling. If they are caught in a market without a skirt, they risk facing significant fines or even time in a forced labor camp. Women complain that the new skirt requirements make little sense when pants are far more practical and allow for greater productivity during the 150-day. This rule is believed to have come into effect in February of 1986, when Kim Il Sung noticed that many women were wearing fatigue pants for "Friday Labor". Upon seeing this, he remarked, "For ‘Friday Labor’, women should carry pants in their bags and wear clean skirts on the streets. It does not look good for women to wear pants on the streets of Pyongyang.” From that point on, inspections of women's clothing commenced.

The legal basis for dress code enforcement is unclear and the law only applies to women. A male inspector noted, “Dress code enforcement is extremely easy and not at all onerous. You may not make much money doing it, but it is fun to tease women and you have an easy excuse to start conversations with women. As a result, many young men volunteer to serve on disciplinary teams.” It should come as no surprise that many of the male inspectors often behave rudely and can be quite harsh. While many women may look more attractive in skirts than they do in pants, this form of sexist discrimination is often extremely inconvenient and ill-suited for their daily routines. It is interesting that it is middle class workers that are most strict about the enforcement of this policy, often fostering an environment where the wearing of pants is considered a great evil.

When the economy is stable and the nation is able to sufficiently feed its population, greater attention is paid to these superficial regulations regarding appearance, but even now, when many women are forced to support their families without the assistance of government food rations, women are still facing strict regulations regarding their dress. As the North Korean government mobilizes these women for the 150-day battle, it is time they recognize the hardships these regulations place on women. While some of these women may wish to wear skirts, they are often an unjustifiable expense for citizens who must spend all day working in the fields or peddling in the markets. These restrictions should clearly be abolished.

North Korea Today No.284

RESEARCH INSTITUTE FOR NORTH KOREAN SOCIETY
http://www.goodfriends.or.kr
[Weekely Newsletter] No.284 June 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]
The Goal of Abolishing General Markets Steadily Comes Closer to Becoming a Reality
City of Hoeryong To Restructure Commerce System and Build New Dining Facilities

[Food]
Residents of Myongchun County Received No Food Rations since January of Last Year

[Economy]
Soonchun Has the Best Knock-Off Shoes
Cheapest Herrings and Anchovies in the Country Are In Rajin
Goods Circulates Best in Chungjin Market

[Politics]
“The Strong and Prosperous Nation Will Be Ours upon the Successful Completion of the 150-Day Battle This Year”
A Mass Conference about the Prosecuting Officers’ Irregularities and Corruption Was Held
Eunduk County Conducted House Searches to Crack Down on Illicit Distillers

[Society]
Hepatitis, Tuberculosis Medicine Leaked into Black Markets
Number of Tuberculosis Patients in Hamheung City Possibly 10 Times Higher than Estimates
After Selling Granddaughter to China a Grandmother Starves to Death out of Guilt

[Women/Children/Education]
Kkotjebies Drafted for Construction Desert Site

[Accidents]
Kaesong City Koryeo Celadon Porcelain Smugglers Received Life Sentence

[Commentary]
Can the Government Really Close the Markets?

_________________________________________________________
[Hot Topics]
The Goal of Abolishing General Markets Steadily Comes Closer to Becoming a Reality
The goal of abolishing general markets is gradually becoming a reality. Beginning in the second half of last year, North Korean authorities have increasingly made it clear that they intend to completely abolish general markets and replace them with farmers’ markets. For several reasons, the implementation of this plan was deferred for six months. The most symbolic example of this crackdown was the closure of the Pyongsung Market, which was shuttered because it held the title of being the nation’s largest wholesale market. It was decided that, in place of the Pyongsung Market, several smaller district markets should be opened. In addition, the Central Party instructed the Ministry of Commerce to fill government department stores with a significant quantity of Chinese-produced goods. Other cities have similarly been issued instructions to import as many Chinese-manufactured good as their situation permits. These policies are intended to keep supplies of in-demand items from running out in the lead-up to the Pyongsung Market’s closing. The policies are being implemented in direct response to the resistance being put up by residents, which initially caused the market’s abolition to be deferred. A party leader in Pyongyang reported that these measures were put in place to minimize the inconvenience to residents. He added, “The Central Party believes that the general markets should be shut down completely, but they fear forced eradication may result in increased resentment from residents. As a result, they are trying a policy of persuasion this time. Regardless, they are determined to completely transform the market structure. They hope that if citizens are relentlessly mobilized and severely restricted, they will not have time to develop ill will.”


City of Hoeryong To Restructure Commerce System and Build New Dining Facilities
The City of Hoeryong, North Hamgyong Province, has decided to remove the existing convenience service facilities along Route One and to build new restaurants and other service facilities at the Feeding and Clothing Care Center. Additionally at Nammoon Dong and Industry Dong, they have decided to build a street of food establishments, similar to those in Pyongyang. In Nammoon Dong alone they will be constructing six produce stores. In preparation, workers from neighboring farms, including Daeduk Li, have been working on the construction of these produce stores in place of their 150-day battle projects. Two work units from Daeduk Li have been using cows, borrowed from the farm, to transporting sand to the site. As a result, the weeds on the farm have grown so extensively that it is almost impossible to tell the different between the corn and the weeds. Public enterprises are struggling, because they are obligated to participate in the construction projects and general managers risk losing their jobs if it is deemed that their contributions are unsatisfactory. An anonymous general manager complained, “these frequent construction assignments make it difficult to maintain a public enterprise. Many of these ventures end up significantly in debt after the construction project has been completed and we will have wasted significant funds, resources, and man-hours. I may lose my job because of it.” Residents are struggling with the costs of supporting the stores’ construction in sand, gravel, and lumber. In addition, each household is expected to pay 12,000 NK Won . While no residents are willing to complain in public, in private many remark. “Why would they want to build a street of food service facilities? Are people not eating because of a lack of restaurants? Food is being removed from the market to support this. Who are they building these restaurants for? It is clearly being done for party leaders.”


[Food]
Residents of Myongchun County Received No Food Rations since January of Last Year
Residents of Myongchun County of North Hamgyong Province have not received any food rations since January of last year. Poor crop yields have caused the county to fall short on meeting their targeted military provisions. Last year’s target was 2,800 MT of grains, but the county could only provide 2,200 MT. The remaining 600 MT is yet to be filled. The Responsible Party Workers including the County Party Secretary and Chairman of the County Farm Cooperative Management Committee received strict warnings from the National Defense Committee that they would lose their jobs in the event that they failed to meet the expected targets. Strained by the requirements to meet the planned military provisions, more than 80% of the residents must subsist on seaweed they have gathered from the beaches. Residents near the Chilbo Mountain seem to be a little better off. They can earn additional income from services they provide to foreign and domestic tourists. Residents of Myongchun County say, “Now that grains are not sold in the market, people like us, poor and unemployed, can hardly afford it. Wouldn’t it be nice if government could provide food rations? We do not anticipate any such day to come during our lifetime.” Kim Chae-joon (80s), an elderly man said signing that he could not understand how things got this bad in Myongchun County. According to Mr. Kim, Myongchun County has been known to be a good place to live since the days of the Japanese occupation. “As you know, many prominent families and proud people reside here. But now, it is hard to find a grain of rice. I must have lived too long,” he added.

[Economy]
Soonchun Has the Best Knock-Off Shoes
Each area specializes in certain products and has prices that are determined by the markets. Pyungsung and Chungjin Soonam markets are considered to be the main wholesale markets. However, nowadays specific products determine the centers of these wholesale markets. For example, one can find the greatest deals in clothing and footwear in Rajin; and similarly, in Haesan of Ryangkang Province is where you can find the main wholesalers for flashlight, light bulbs and television accessories. Fans made in Southeast Asia and other appliances are transported to Sinuiju and then to Pyungsung to be distributed throughout the rest of the country. Pyungsung produces large numbers of knock-offs of foreign-made clothing, which are indistinguishable from the real thing. Soonchun is known for the knock-offs of shoes made in China. Individuals in Soonchun purchase the materials from factories and replicate the footwear by hand in their homes to sell in the market. These shoes may look like the Chinese-made shoes, but they tend to fall apart easily due to their inferior quality. Hamheung is known for medicine, especially ‘Ice’ (illicit drug) because medical students and chemists with skills in pharmaceutical production reside there. There are rumors that approximately the same number of households producing “Ice” resides in Hamheung as those producing tofu in other regions. Hamheung’s “Ice” producing methods have spread throughout the country; which has led to many more “Ice” producing regions including Pyungsung and Soonchun of South Pyongan Province and Jakang Province. Aside from producing “Ice”, Hamheung is also known for manufacturing pills and herbal remedies, which are produced by extracting the juice from medicinal herbs. Recently, herbal medicine from Jakang Province has become more popular. The signature product is named, “Jakang Province Herbal Medicine” after a review on Jakang Province producing the best version of the medicine.

Cheapest Herrings and Anchovies in the Country Are In Rajin
Recently, there has been a sizable harvest of anchovies in Rajin of North Hamgyong Province, where the average price per kilogram is 800 NK won. Despite its own sizable harvests, the amount produced in Chungjin is not comparable to either the yield or the price in Rajin as the price per kilogram sold in Chungjin is 1,300 NK won. In the inland provinces, such as Hoeryong, Onsung, Gilju and Gimchaek, the price per kilogram has reached between 1,500 NK won to 1,800 NK won. Market prices of Ammodytes personatus in Eunul, South Hamgyong Province, Nampo, South Pyongan Province and Onchun range from 2,000 NK won per kilogram up to 5,000 NK won per kilogram in the East Sea Coast. Also, prices have been rising even higher in cities in the northern part of the country. In Chungjin, North Hamgyong Province, the price soared to 5,500 NK won, and at Onsung and Hoeryong, prices even reached 8,000 NK won to a maximum of 10,000 NK won. The large regional variances in the prices are caused not only by varying costs of distribution, but they are also due to disruptions in the markets caused by the “150-day battle”, which is a government sponsored campaign to revive nationalism and hard work in the country. The people have unanimously decided to wait until the end of the campaign hoping that sales would improve.

Goods Circulates Best in Chungjin Market
Merchants prefer Soonam market in Chungjin, North Hamgyong Province because money and goods circulate at a faster rate in this market as compared to all of the other regions in North Korea. Endowed with a large population, these markets are able to clear faster, selling vegetables, foods and rice as well as industrial goods. Goods that would take five days to sell in other markets could be sold in literally a fraction of the time at Chungjin market. Oil, sugar and flour are supplied from Hamheung and Danchun of South Hamgyong Province as a result of the viability of this market. Merchants agree that even with fewer endowments, more income is earned when goods sell faster; therefore, attracting more people to benefit from the vitality of the markets in Chungjin City.

[Politics]
“The Strong and Prosperous Nation Will Be Ours upon the Successful Completion of the 150-Day Battle This Year”
Instruction materials are sent continuously to each unit as the 150-day battle progresses. Each factory and public enterprise in Pyongsung, South Pyongan Province held a seminar on the political situation one week after the completion of the second nuclear test in which it was said “There is no one in the world now that can match us in military strength.” The main message was propaganda and serves as a motivational tool for citizens. It said, “If the United States and US satellite nations impose an economic blockade upon our nation, we will consider that as a war provocation maneuver and confront it with a military power. The strong and prosperous nation will be ours upon the successful completion of the 150-day battle this year. Everyone must learn and follow the revolutionary military spirit of the People’s Army so that we can open the gate of the strong and prosperous nation as soon as possible.”

A Mass Conference about the Prosecuting Officers’ Irregularities and Corruption Was Held
A conference for the public as well as for officials was held in Sinuiju, North Pyongan Province where cases of corruption by judicial authorities were reported. Cases regarding prosecutorial misconduct were enumerated one by one in this conference. In one case a prosecuting officer was introduced and accused of accepting more than $1,000 from black market dollar dealers and pretended not to know about the illegal acts.

An investigation ensued when it was disclosed that Kim, Sung-hee (pseudonym), who lives in Sinuiju, North Pyongan Province, has been actively managing black market dollar dealers in other cities such as Pyongyang, Sariwon, and Pyongsung. During this process, Kim, Sung-hee and other people who were caught offered a bribe in the amount of more than $1,000 to the investigating officers, and the case seemed to be concluded at that moment.
The superior office became aware of this incident and ordered another investigation. However, even the officers in charge of this second investigation accepted a bribe in the amount of $1,200 and concluded the investigation in a hurry. The case was about to be closed in such a way when an informant revealed the full accounts of the prosecuting officers’ involvement in bribery.

People tend to doze off or chitchat during the mass conference, but during this case, people were listening attentively. One officer said, “The citizens seem to be interested in criticizing the officials as no one was complaining or chitchatting during the conference.” Sim Mi-hwa (30s), who had attended the conference, repeatedly asserted that an illegal act is not just committed by ordinary citizens but also by everyone. She said, “Who would not commit an illegal act when the prosecutors, who used to be on the forefront of the struggle to root out the antisocialist behavior, are committing an illegal act in order to satisfy their own bellies? Nowadays, no one can survive without committing an illegal act.”
After the conference every party member must write a self-criticism in a month. In the paper they have to review and reflect on their own work. Individuals must evaluate their own job performance. For example, an obstetrician has to discuss how many illegal abortions he had conducted and how much he had received for doing so. Other physicians must disclose how many medicines they sold illegally on the market. A judicial officer has to detail how many crimes he had excused in exchange for a bribe. A teacher has to admit whether he offered private tutoring in exchange for financial compensation.

Eunduk County Conducted House Searches to Crack Down on Illicit Distillers
For three days beginning on June 2, authorities of Eunduk County in North Hamgyong Province intensified efforts to combat illicit alcohol distillation. The government outlawed and cracked down on home brewing, which it believed conflicted with principles of socialism and was a waste of food. The police of Eunduk County, acting on information supplied by the heads of the neighborhood units, searched the houses of about 30 people suspected of home brewing, and, as a result, confiscated 7.2 tons of whole corn and 28 pieces of home-brewing equipment. The confiscated corn is processed into crushed maize and is given to students who have been mobilized for farming. The local grain policy distribution center compensated those whose corn was confiscated at the officially fixed price of 30 won per kilogram, which is the official price set by the government.

[Society]
Hepatitis, Tuberculosis Medicine Leaked into Black Markets
In May, the Centers for Disease Control provided each city and county with hepatitis and tuberculosis medicine. Unfortunately, they were leaked into the black markets even before reaching infected patients. The drugs are currently being sold for 5,500 NK won to 7,000 NK won at Pyungsung market, Chungjin market, and Hamheung market. Kim Dong-Hak (40s), a resident of Hamheung, South Hamheung Province, said, "This is happening due to the increasing numbers of medical doctors who are doing illegal practices." Patients confirmed of being infected with the diseases at nearby clinics are sent to the city hospitals. However, these patients are being told that they “seem to be doing just fine and have no problems with their health” by doctors of the hospital’s Department of Tuberculosis. The medicine is not being used to help cure patients, but rather used for individual monetary purposes and thus sold to markets. Jung Mi-Hye (30s) purchased the hepatitis medicine at Sapoh Market because she was unable to get any from the hospitals. “It’s nothing new that medicine are being sold to the markets, but selling the hepatitis medicine that our leader, Kim Jung-Il, generously provided for us, is just too much,” Jung said furiously.

Number of Tuberculosis Patients in Hamheung City Possibly 10 Times Higher than Estimates
Hamheung City of South Hamgyong Province has an estimated number of about 1,500 tuberculosis and 1,470 hepatitis patients. Among these, 380 people have died from these diseases. These numbers have resulted after the Second Prevention Clinic in South Hamgyong Province analyzed data from year 2007 to May 4, 2009. Based on this data, the Second Prevention Clinic calculated the amount of needed tuberculosis and hepatitis medicine and requested for them to the Department of Health and Human
Services. Dr. Jang Sung-Man (alias, 40s) said, "It is a lie that the number of infected tuberculosis patient is 1,500. They did not count the people with infiltrative tuberculosis. Tuberculosis is strongly associated with nutrition and thus malnutrition causes the tuberculosis bacteria to be active. Doctors are hiding the true diagnosis of patients, let alone register them, unless they are at an advanced stage in their infection. Off the record, total number of infected patients could be well over 10 times more than the estimation."

After Selling Granddaughter to China a Grandmother Starves to Death out of Guilt
Choi Jum-soon (70s), a resident of Ingokdong, Chungam district, Chungjin city, North Hamgyong Province, died after refusing to eat for more than 15 days. She hasn’t been able to eat due to the overwhelming guilt of selling her own 16-year old granddaughter. Choi’s daughter passed away last year during the spring hardship period, whereas her son-in-law died last December after suffering from epidemic hemorrhagic fever. Choi had been plagued with many worries due to debt from her son-in-law’s medical bills and her lack of funds for her granddaughter’s schooling. After consulting with her second daughter, Choi decided to hand over her granddaughter over to China for 5,000 NK Won. The grandmother who lived with her granddaughter for 7 years could not stop weeping, saying she could not eat the food that she bought with the money that she received from her granddaughter’s sale. As she shut her eyes on her deathbed, Choi said that although she had to send her granddaughter to China out of poverty, she will be praying for her granddaughter to meet a good husband and live a good life.


[Women/Children/Education]
Kkotjebies Drafted for Construction Desert Site
The Welfare Institutions in each city and county in the South Pyongan Province sent 80 Kkotjebies to the Baekdoo Mountain construction shock troop brigade. However, as many as 60 Kkotjebies deserted the brigade. They suffered from malnutrition due to lack of food, and many Kkotjebies had a stomach disease. Some of them had colds due to the cold weather and others contracted a waterborne epidemic. Nevertheless, they only received few pills because the situation did not allow them to receive treatment. For this reason, most of the shock troop brigade members ran away because they felt that they would die if they stayed in that condition. There were 17 remaining shock troop brigade members and 63 of them deserted the brigade while some of them returned to the welfare institutions they originally came from. For this incident, the leading member of the Organization and Guidance department went to South Pyongan Province Brigade to criticize and urge a solution to this problem.

[Accidents]
Kaesong City Koryeo Celadon Porcelain Smugglers Received Life Sentence
In early May, the Kaesong City Police arrested smugglers of Koryeo celadon porcelain and sent them to the court for trial. Those apprehended are the employees of Koryeo trading company and a locomotive engineer of Kaesong Station. It was discovered that since October of last year they collected and smuggled Goryeo celadon porcelains and various antiques to the National Border Area. Investigative agencies assumed the Koryeo celadon porcelains were smuggled out to South Korea via China. So, they have questioned the suspects intensively about the route used for smuggling. The investigation ended on May 20, and the smugglers were sentenced to life in prison at re-education center along with the label of ‘enemy’.

[Commentary]
Can the Government Really Close the Markets?
Slowly but surely, plans to close all general markets are coming into reality. Originally, these closures were scheduled for January 2009, but public outcry resulted in a six-month deferment. The basic premise of this plan is that industrial products should be sold at national stores, grain should be coming from public distribution agencies, and that markets should be restricted to being farmers markets. Now that the six-month deferment period has passed, the closure of general markets is slated to begin, starting with the Pyongsung Market. Unfortunately, North Korean officials have still not come up with an acceptable answer to the most question residents ask the most: “Does the government have rice to distribute to us?” No apparent steps are being taken by the government to address growing food shortages that are only being exacerbated by the prohibitions against small plot farming and the sale of grain in markets, as well as the disbanding of Forest Utilization Teams. They have no answer to concerns like “Sales are no longer private, so there is no bargaining over prices or discounts. There are no longer several products to choose from. Why do we need all these controls?” There are also questions surrounding what to do about the illegal sale of industrial products, now that their sale on the market has been prohibited. People hear claims by the Party that National Stores will soon be filled with goods, but they are doubtful how long it will last. They doubt that the government has the resources to fill National Stores with necessary items. Unless acceptable solutions are found to these concerns, the policy of closing the general markets will either result in the spread of illegal markets or general markets reemerging regardless of the law. North Korean authorities claim that the market system causes a huge disparity between the rich and the poor and an increase in crime. In reality, it seems obvious that the exact opposite occurs. We firmly believe that policy alone cannot close markets when those policies leave residents unable to support themselves. If the government cannot provide for its citizens, the markets should not be closed. Instead, the government should focus on how to counteract the negative byproducts of the market system. Mobilizing of all government resources towards eradicating the general market system, a policy that seems doomed from the start, is a huge waste of national resources, both in human and material. On top of that, it will result in great suffering for residents. At this time, peddling in the market and small plot farming are the only ways many North Korean citizens are able to sustain themselves, so these activities should be supported. In summary, we firmly believe the policy of closing general markets should be reconsidered.
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