Archive for the ‘League of Socialist Working Youth’ Category

Report: preparations for Arirang 2012 under way

Friday, May 4th, 2012

Pictured Above (Google Earth): The May Day Stadium on Rungra Island in Pyongyang.  Home of the Mass Games.

According to the Daily NK:

North Korea has begun forming troupes to take part in this year’s Arirang mass games performance, leading to a game of wait-and-see between parents determined to ensure that their children are not required to perform.

Training for Arirang, as well as the performance itself, places four or five months of severe physical and emotional stress on participants. Training for the games begins after May 20th, once the annual ‘farm supporting activities’ are completed, meaning that the time for concern is rapidly approaching.

A source from Pyongyang told Daily NK, “Each school began working on its own list of participants for the Arirang games after the Labor Day holiday. There was some hope that the mass games might not be held in the Kim Jong Eun era, but alas that was not to be. All the parents of school-aged children are now working on plans to get their children exempted from the games.”

“Well-off parents are secretly paying bribes to hospital staff for medical certificates which can get their children off. Genuinely infirm children are sent to recuperate in the country, which completely removes any chance of being selected for the games.” The source also said, “People are pretty brazen now when talking about having to pay expensive bribes and the like to get their children off these lists.”

The Arirang mass games are administrated by the Mass Gymnastics Organizing Committee, which is made up of members of the Kim Il Sung Socialist Youth League and the cabinet-directed Chosun Sports Guidance Committee. From the beginning of May the committee screens children at Pyongyang’s elementary and middle schools based on height, health and artistic talent, and whittles the names down to a list of participants. In Pyongyang, roughly half the children from every school year are selected to take part in the games.

“Parents are keeping their eye on the situation and are keen to find out what other parents are doing to get their children out of selection,” the source said. “There is a palpable atmosphere amongst Pyongyang parents at the moment of trying to avoid selection for the games.”

The Arirang mass games have earned a nickname amongst the North Korean people: ‘Arirang of tears’. The games, which began in 2002, conscript over 10,000 elementary, middle school and university students from Pyongyang every year. Equipment including clothes, shoes, cards, artificial flowers, handheld flags, folding fans, and pole vaults become a burden for participants learning each routine.

As the performance approaches, students are made to train outside in stifling heat for 12 hours a day, from 8 o’clock in the morning, and practice is sometimes extended into the night. Parents of children who sit out from a rehearsal or fall behind in their training also become targets of severe criticism.

When the games began, performers were given televisions, which sparked envy amongst parents of non-participants; however, these have now been replaced with nylon blankets, leading to even less willing participation.

Read previous posts on the Mass Games here.

See a great documentary on the Mass Games here.

Read the full story here:
‘Arirang’ Looming over the Horizon
Daily NK
Choi Song Min


Kim Il-sung Youth League gets new leader

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

Pictured Above (Google Earth:  39.018532°, 125.728943°): The Central Committee of the Kim Il-sung Socialist Youth League in Pyongyang (청년동맹중앙위원회)

According to the Daily NK:

Chosun Central News Agency reported today that Ri Yong Cheol, the 1st Secretary of the Kim Il Sung Socialist Youth League, has been dismissed, replaced by Jeon Yong Nam.

Ri was removed by the 47th plenary session of the organization’s central committee in Pyongyang yesterday for reasons related to his age, according to the report. Ri, the son of former Workers’ Party Guidance Department Vice Director Ri Hwa Seon, had been in the job since December, 2007. He was also on the funeral committee at the death of Kim Jong Il.

The Kim Il Sung Socialist Youth League is among the first political organizations with which young North Koreans come into contact. Acting as the youth wing of the Chosun Workers’ Party, its membership, comprised of persons aged 14-30, is estimated at approximately five million.

Here is coverage in Rodong Sinmun:

The 47th plenary meeting of the Central Committee of the Kim Il Sung Socialist Youth League was held in Pyongyang on March 22.

At the meeting former First Secretary Ri Yong Chol was relieved of his post and recalled for his age reason and Jon Yong Nam was posted instead.

Here is what Wikipedia has to say about the Kim Il-sung Youth League:

Kim Il Sung Socialist Youth League (Korean: 김일성사회주의청년동맹, Hanja: 金日成社會主義靑年同盟) is a Korean youth organization. It is the main youth organization in DPR Korea.

It was founded by Kim Il-sung on January 17, 1946 as the Democratic Youth League of North Korea. It became the youth wing of the Workers Party of North Korea, later the Workers Party of Korea. It was renamed the Democratic Youth League of Korea and in May 1964 renamed as the League of Socialist Working Youth of Korea.[1] It assumed its present name on its 50th anniversary in 1996.[2]

The 47th plenary meeting of the Central Committee of the Kim Il Sung Socialist Youth League was held in Pyongyang on March the 22th of 2012. At the meeting former First Secretary Ri Yong Chol was relieved of his post for his age reason and Jon Yong Nam was elected to the post.

Read the full story here:
KIS Youth League Gets New Head
Daily NK
Kang Mi-jin


Organizational Loyalty on Display

Friday, October 31st, 2008

Daily NK
Jeong Jae Sung

North Korean youth and women’s organizations have been holding meetings to elicit a vow of loyalty to Kim Jong Il since mid-August, when he disappeared from public view.

Meanwhile, North Korean media report that Kim Jong Il mails letters and gifts frequently in order to prevent a potentially unstable social situation caused by rumors of his serious illness. These loyalty vow meetings are also a tool by which to emphasize solidarity with the current political system.

Chosun (North Korea) Central News Agency reported on Friday that the Primary Organization Chairmen’s meeting of the Union of Democratic Women was held on the 30th in the People’s Palace of Culture, Pyongyang, at which Party Secretary Kim Jung Rin was present and a further “oath statement” to Kim Jong Il was selected.

The News Agency described the meeting thus, “Chairwoman of the Union of Democratic Women Roh Sung Sil reported their activities, after which they evaluated sub-organizational achievements as led by the leadership of the Party and discussed the duties of the primary organizations’ chairwomen and ways to raise their results.”

The Union of Democratic Women consists of around 200,000 women between 31 and 55 years old who do not have jobs. Women who meet these registration conditions have to affiliate with the Union.

On the 28th, a North Korean representative youth organization, the Kim Il Sung Socialist Youth League, held its 38th Assembly in order to discuss a way to enact Kim Jong Il’s instruction, “The youths should take the role of vanguard and storm troopers in the hardest fields, to establish a great and strong country,” according to the News Agency.

The Kim Il Sung Socialist Youth League was founded on January 17, 1946 and today consists of around five million students, workers and soldiers between 14 and 30. Its role is to act as a rearguard for the Party.

Vice Chairman of the General Federation of Korean Trade Unions, the largest workers’ organization, Kim Sung Cheol said in late September through the Chosun Central News Agency (KCNA) that “The core of the spirit of the thousands of soldiers and people is to firmly support the Leader, so we should put pressure on members to strengthen their spirits.” 


Disappearance of North’s Propaganda Chief

Saturday, January 27th, 2007


Recently, rumors have been spreading in North Korea that Jeong Ha Cheol (74-year-old), the propaganda secretary of the Workers’ Party, has defected from North Korea, stirring public sentiment.

Party officials have been going door-to-door to remove traces of Jeong from publications without giving any reason. Officials are painting over Jeong’s face with black ink on any pictures that show Jeong accompanying North Korean leader Kim Jong Il or its former leader Kim Il Sung. They are also censuring his name with black ink if there are any passages that include his name and sealing the book. Moreover, writings by Jeong have been torn to pieces. All households which have a few dozens of those books now are required to get rid of them since most North Korea publications are propaganda books.

Jeong Ha Cheol, who studied philosophy at the Kim Il Sung University, was one of the most successful propaganda officials. He served as the editorial chief of the state-run newspaper Rodong Sinmun and the chairman of the Central Broadcasting Station before becoming the propaganda secretary of the Workers’ Party. It is a key post that oversees all the propaganda activities in North Korea, and Kim Jong Il also served in this post before being named as Kim Il Sung’s successor in the mid 1970s.

Jeong, who was considered as one of the closest aides of Kim Il Sung, accompanied Kim every time he paid a state visit to China and even received the Kim Il Sung Decoration, the most highly recognized medal in North Korea at that time.

In fact, rumors about Jeong erupted in December 2005. Some media outlets reported that Jeong has stopped appearing in public since October 2005. There were no news reports on his exile.

Some sources said that he was imprisoned at a concentration camp in North Pyongan Province because his faults were revealed during an intensive investigation into the staff of Central Broadcasting who was caught drinking during the daytime.

According to the sources, Jeong was sentenced as “a traitor against the party and revolution,” and was ordered to be erased from all the records, including publications. In short, he is unlikely to regain his power since he has been completely shunned by North Korean society.

All these people were involved in the so-called, “August Clan Incident.” The names of the children of Kim Sung Ae, Kim Il Sung’s third wife, who fell from political power and Seo Gwan-hee, former agricultural secretary of the Workers’ Party, who was shot to death on charges of espionage, were also removed from publications. You can see black marks quite often on North Korean political books. In North Korea, it is a principle that if one is accused of a serious crime, his or her family members and relatives (father’s side: up to second cousins, mother’s side: up to first cousins) are also sent to concentration camps or deep in the mountains, as it happened in the feudal age.

The most common cause that North Korean committee officials consider as a serious crime is a drinking bout. Criticizing Kim Jong Il or the communist regime after having some drinks can not be tolerated in the North, and that is likely the case with Jeong. It is a felony to shake the regime. Recently, Joo Dong Il, a high ranking official in charge of electricity, was dismissed for suggesting to Kim Jong Il on a private occasion, “How about we use the electricity used for unattended guest houses all across the country for the economic sector?”

However, some analysts speculate possibilities of Jeong’s involvement in serious corruption considering that North Korea lavishly spend money to purchase equipment from overseas for propaganda purposes every year.

Choi Yong Hae, the chairman of the League of Socialist Working Youth and who prepared the 13th World Festival of Youth and Students, was also found guilty of grave corruption. Although Choi was dismissed, his name was not censured with black ink. Chang Sung Taek, a senior official of the Workers’ Party, was also blamed of serious corruption, but he was recently pardoned. Corruption charges are far more lenient compared to criticizing the regime or Kim Jong Il.

Jeong’s case is a good example that illustrates how insecure the power that top North Korean officials have once they lose the trust of Kim Jong Il. If North Korean officials are not cautious all the time, like walking on thin ice each day, they can be out of Kim Jong Il’s favor.

NK Secretary Jung Ha Chol Politically Banished
Daily NK

Han Young Jin

A rumor has spread alleging that a former secretary for the Propaganda Department of the Chosun Worker’s Party Jung Ha Chol (74) has escaped North Korea, reported the Donga Ilbo on the 27th.

A source told Donga Ilbo “Though the reason has not yet been revealed, North Korean elite officials have recently been erasing remnants of Secretary Jung in published materials” and informed “Secretary Jung’s face has been deleted from all photos taken with Kim Il Sung or Kim Jong Il.” In addition, Secretary Jung’s name is being erased from all written materials and sealed with tape, and materials directly written by Secretary Jung are being deleted altogether.

With Kim Il Sung’s May 25th teaching in 1967, “North Korea’s revolutionary culture” arose and excluding statements and instructions of Kim Il Sung, any foreign editions and all publications displaying anti-authority or conflict with Kim Il Sung were either burned or erased.

Hence, we can surmise that secretary Jung has already been purged from North Korea’s political arena based on the evidence that his photo and name is being obliterated from published materials.

Secretary Jung graduated from the Kim IL Sung University majoring in Philosophy and worked as an editor for the Rodong Newspaper and Head of the Central Broadcast Agency. In 2001, he became the director and secretary for the propaganda department which following the secretary for the Chosun Workers Party is the next best position. Secretary Jung was even selected as Kim Jong Il’s entourage on his visit to China and was even awarded the Kim Il Sung honorary medal.

However, in December 2005 inspectors discovered one of Secretary Jung’s private parties held at a rural village during an agricultural supporting activity. In addition, there had been rumors that the First Minister for the Chosun Workers Party Lee Jae Kang and Secretary Jung had been in conflict. Whatever the unknown reason, whether it was Secretary Jung conducting parties, occurrences or comments made at the party or personal feuds, Secretary Jung was ultimately imprisoned at a concentration camp in South Pyongan, Buk Chang province.

The Donga Ilbo informed “Secretary Jung has been condemned as an anti-revolutionist and is being banished from North Korean society. His existence being deleted from all records indicates that his power will not be reinstated to him.”

“One the main reasons elite officials are ostracized in North Korea is for reproaching Kim Jong Il or the system at parties” and “It is likely Secretary Jung fell into this category” prospected the newspaper.

Another speculation suggested that Secretary Jung had been corrupted. As North Korea carelessly spends vast amounts of foreign currency on propaganda every year, it is possible Secretary Jung made a foolish decision.

However, even Choi Young Hae, former director for Socialist Youth League who swindled vast amounts of foreign currency while preparing for the 13th International Youth and Students Festival in 1989 did not get “deleted” from all publication but just simply demoted. This was the same for Jang Sung Taek who was once overthrown but his position eventually reinstituted. To criticize or compare Kim Jong Il or the regime is an enormous criminal offense. Hence, for Secretary Jung’s existence to be deleted from all published materials denotes that he could never return to the political areana.

Though there is no real evidence to prove that Secretary Jung Ha Chol has defected overseas, he has undeniably been obliterated from politics.

At present, Jung Ha Chol’s position as secretary of the Chosun Worker’s Party has been reassigned to Kim Ki Nam.