North Koreans receive largest gift rations since Kim Il-sung’s death

According to the Choson Ilbo:

North Koreans were given the most extra supplies on Oct. 10, the 65th founding day of the Workers Party, since nation founder Kim Il-sung’s death in 1994, Radio Free Asia in the U.S. claimed last Friday.

The so-called “holiday supplies” are various daily necessities sold at state prices or about 1/100 of market prices on major holidays such as Kim Il-sung’s and current leader Kim Jong-il’s birthdays.

On the day, two days’ supply of food and daily necessities were supplied at state prices, a senior party official in Daehongdan-gun in Yanggang Province was quoted by RFA as saying.

Each of about 9,500 homes in the county received two bottles of liquor, 1 kg of potato noodles, 1 kg of potato starch syrup, a bottle of vinegar, a bottle of soybean oil, 1 kg of pork, a cake of soap, a pair of shoes, toothbrushes and toothpaste, the official said.

Another North Korean source said the sudden bounty led to drunken accidents and an inebriated gang fight between youngsters, several of whom were taken to hospital. The source said a tractor carrying potatoes keeled over, killing four people.

Holiday rations/gifts are a time honored tradition in the DPRK, though their significance to the North Korean people has declined since the “arduous march” and the rise of markets.

Paradoxically, their importance to foreign observers of the DPRK has in fact grown since the “arduous march”.  This is because the composition of the gifts, or lack thereof, is important data for estimating the strength of the Public Distribution System and by extension the state’s finances.  By giving the most generous gifts since Kim Il-sung’s death, the DPRK government wants us, and the North Korean people, to believe its fiscal position is improving.

Here, here, herehere, and here are previous posts about holiday rations.

Here is a story in the Daily NK featuring pictures of holiday rations.

Read the full story here:
N.Korean Regime in Rare Show of Generosity
Choson Ilbo
10/25/2010

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An affiliate of 38 North