North Korea Concentrates Energy on Regulating Citizens during Provincial Elections

Daily NK
Kim Young Jin

The North Korean government, with the approaching Provincial People’s Assembly delegate elections on the 29th of this month, stepped-up one level the management of citizens and regulation of cell phones.

Kang Ki Ok (pseudonym), a civilian of Hyesan in Yangkang Provicne, said in a phone conversation with the reporter on the 20th, “Nowadays, I am afraid to turn on my cell phone. The People Safety agents and the National Security agents inspect us with fury in their eyes. People who use cell phones during the election season are punished, so there are people who bury their phones by putting them into jars.”

The North Korean government, when the People’s Assembly election season comes around every four or five years, concentrates on regulating the society by observing the movement of citizens and examining the registration cards.

The members of the elections preparations committee, composed of National Security agents, chairmen of People’s Units, and head officials of each provincial unit, are ordered to strictly investigate illegal acts occurring in their regions and to control them. Illegal acts are punished at the end of the elections.

According to Mr. Kang, the outflow of information has been secured at the border region with the upcoming delegate elections, so concentrated cell phone regulation were carried out. Further, the control of the border has been toughened recently, so the escape fee has skyrocked to the North Korean currency of 1 million won (approx. US$1,075).

Another source relayed, “Safeguarding Kim Il Sung, Kim Jong Il statues and research offices have been toughened by inspection units composed of each organ and enterprise farming laborers. Further, they are making sure that historic places and vestiges of battle are not destroyed.”

This source said, “Youth Leagues have also organized inspection units and are regulating unemployed persons and are strictly making sure that juveniles do not watch South Korean dramas and listen to illegal CDs and South Korean songs.”

On one hand, related to election preparation, each city, district, and county candidates were posted at the election site and citizens over 17 have gone into preparations such as conducting voter registrations through the election committee.

The source also relayed that the People’s Safety Agency have actively stepped up inspections by summoning civilians who have gone out to foreign sites to catch clam and mine gold for survival.

When the movement of the North Korean authorities to strengthen the solidarity of the regime was presented through this election, the citizens, in fear of being punished as trial cases, have produced a cautious atmosphere.”

At the time of the Supreme People’s Assembly elections in 2003, when thefts or acts of violence occurred, perpetrators were stringently punished regardless of whether or not they were members of the Workers’ Party. Further, in the case that teenagers got into fist fights, the parents were disciplined and jointly held responsible.

Mr. Kim, who defected in 2006, said, “At the time of the 1991 provincial elections, in the province where we were living, teenagers got into a fist fight. One of the gangs who started the fight accused the opponent of “stirring a political event destroying elections” and went to the parents and got compensation for damages by threatening them.”


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