GoodFriends: Research Institute For North Korean Society

.

North Korea Today No. 357 July 2010

[“Good Friends” aims to help the North Korean people from a humanistic point of view and publishes “North Korea Today” describing the way the North Korean people live as accurately as possible. We at Good Friends also hope to be a bridge between the North Korean people and the world.]
________________________________________________________
White Rice Given as Special Reward for Completion of 2nd Stage of Samsuk Apple Farm Renovation
Two Hundred Apple Trees Damaged on Samsuk Apple Farm
People’s Safety Agency Pardoned Unregistered Residents
“Punishing a potato thief to death justified?” Punishment of Prisoners Too Harsh
Difficulties with Punishing Art School Students Watching South Korean Movies
________________________________________________________
White Rice Given as Special Reward for Completion of 2nd Stage of Samsuk Apple Farm Renovation
As of last June 19th, 2nd stage of Pyongyang Samsuk Orchard expansion project was completed. Much work is remaining, including building houses for farmers who were evacuated due to the construction. However, people were celebrating the completion. Special provision was granted to Special Labor Brigade under People’s Safety Agency mobilized for the project. The Brigade visited Geunsusan Memorial Palace, which commemorates Kim Il-sung, and had a consideration meal at a famous restaurant in Pyongyang. Each platoon received underwear and medicine and medical supplies. They will also receive white rice till September for food provision, which is a special treatment compared to corn. After a break, the Brigade resumed the project on July 1st and started the third stage. People’s Safety Agency newly incorporated Student Special Labor Brigade from the College of Politics under the Agency’s supervision.

Two Hundred Apple Trees Damaged on Samsuk Apple Farm
On July 5th, before the day of late Kim Il-sung’s 16th death anniversary, an incident involving the damaging of 200 apple trees occurred in the Samsuk apple farm. The destruction of the apple trees caused massive uproar amongst the Security authorities. The problem was that the incident occurred just before the Kim IL Sung’s death anniversary, and the apple farm business has been under Kim, Jong-il (the chairman of national defense committee)’s special directions. Therefore, the North Korean government interpreted the incident as an anti-revolutionary political one committed by a person who is discontented with the government. In order to track down the culprit, the Security authorities have taken the initiative in comparing fingerprints found at the trees with those of the local residents. To prevent the same incident from happening at other apple farms, the Special Guard Headquarters have quickly stationed their battalion near the Samsuk apple farm area. Some local residents exhibited a strong distrust, saying, “The purpose of stationing the soldiers is no other than to prevent local people from picking even one apple when the trees are full of apples”.

People’s Safety Agency Pardoned Unregistered Residents
Some married women who had moved to other cities upon marriage or some retired soldiers who had been located to other regions returned to their hometown and have stayed without registration. They did not report the move, thus they became unregistered residents in their new residence. After the currency reform, it was hard to survive, so they went back to their hometown. When each city or county examined residents to issue new registration cards, they found the unexpectedly large number of these people and reported it to the central government. Since a lot of people have starved to death in every district, some voiced an opinion that it is not appropriate to send unregistered residents back to their previous residence.

Last April 12, residence registration office of People’s Safety Agency reported this issue to the Central Party. After the party examined this report, it issued 4.14 measures, saying “Find unregistered people and allow them to live where they want to stay.” Thus, every district organized a 4.14 committee and helped unregistered people with the removal process. People positively reacted to this measure because the procedure was difficult and they used to pay a lot of money, but they now need to pay comparatively little to register the move. In Chungjin, North Hamgyong Province, 350 out of 570 unregistered residents were benefitted. 110 out of 260 residents of Hoeryong and 210 out of 350 in Gimchaeck became registered. The committee plans to continue this project for the remaining unregistered residents.

“Punishing a potato thief to death justified?” Punishment of Prisoners Too Harsh
On July 6th 2010, one male prisoner in his 50s died in the Auro Re-education Centre in South Hamgyong Province. While carrying logs, he passed out after tumbling down a slope due to sudden dizziness. He breathed his last while receiving first aid. The cause of death was falling down. However, behind this death are more stories. This prisoner was caught eating potatoes that he had stolen. The officials in the re-education centre ordered the head of prisoners and the group to assault the thief. The centre denied him any kind of food, stating “only hunger can correct bad deeds.” Beating and starving were imposed as punishment.
But the official in the re-education centre stressed that the death was caused by the fall. The official belittled the fact that the thief was beaten by the inmates and starved for two days, saying that “he paid the price for violating the rules of the re-education centre even after being imprisoned because he committed a crime.” The official assessed that it was not a harsh punishment. Rather, the official mentioned that the superior authority gave an instruction of “maintaining tensions in order for the life-imprisoned criminals not to feel loose and make them abide by the rules.” He stated that the centre is just following the instruction from the superior authority. However, another official in the centre told a different story. He stated that the higher authority ordered the intensification of tensions rather than the maintenance of tensions. Therefore, the centre purposefully produces one or two scapegoats among the prisoners and makes them fight among each other. The center intends to make the prisoners who witnessed the deaths feel fearful. The officials in the centre step back when fighting is going on among prisoners. In those strenuous struggles, it is inevitable that some inmates die. The re-education centre generates new scapegoats and maintains orders thus by keeping prisoners from getting lazy and being tempted by other thoughts. One official in the central party said that “the prisoner was sacrificed as an example of a punishment of the violation of the centre’s rules, rather than having died just of eating early crop potatoes.” The official commented that the re-education centre is maintained on the basis of continuously requiring the blood of prisoners.

Difficulties with Punishing Art School Students Watching South Korean Movies
Police officers of 109 division investigating illegal media recordings in Chungjin, North Hamgyong Province caught three students of Province Arts School who were watching South Korean movies. The investigation revealed that over 30 students and teachers of this school have shared these movies. The police authority reported this incident to the Department of Education, and the department immediately fired teachers involved in the illegal conduct. However, they faced problems with punishing the students. It was not easy to punish them because they were teenagers and their parents were rich or high-ranking officials. It has been a custom to allow students of Provincial Arts School to experience Western movies and music, so it was not easy to ignore this custom. Some pointed out that it is unreasonable to restrict only South Korean movies because students were allowed to watch American or Japanese movies or listen to Western popular songs. The rational was that sharing the movies with ordinary people could have been a problem, but it should be excused because the students shared them among themselves. Considering these circumstances, leniency of punishment is expected for the students.

No comments:

There was an error in this gadget