On the role of People’s Units in DPRK life

Daily NK
Kim Song A

“North Korea, Restraining People’s Unit… People Suffering Fatigue”

Last month, North Korean authorities and affiliates of the people’s unit distributed lecture materials throughout the country, in attempt to strengthen the society and operations with “Our Socialism.”

The meetings of people’s units comprise of roughly thirty families who work as a political operation regulating the people. Amidst former communist countries, North Korea is the only unique system to have implemented a people’s unit.

On the 6th Good Friends, an organization aiding North Korea published on their website, North Korean News No. 49, “Introduction to lecture materials revealing the aim that to exalt supremacy while strengthening operations is ‘our socialism system.’”

Authorities and the People’s Committee notify the people’s unit which consists of 20~40 families of the same residence grouped by North Korean authorities and uses their power by controlling the lives of people living in the community as well as their thoughts and regulating visitors. However, after the “March of Tribulation (Mass starvation period in the 1990s)” people’s units remained passive as people busily tried to find food in order to live. Hence, people only felt frustrated with the system and the people’s unit movements became aberrant.

Good Friends stated “Though attempts are made (by the international community) to change the lifestyle and thinking of the people, the people’s units are making sure that they strengthen unification from within.”

More specifically, “Requests were made to be cautious of any act of anti-socialism such as secretly watching or spreading news of video tapes, anyone who uses a car to sell goods, any act of offering accommodation or receiving money for lease of accommodation and acts of brewing home-wine.”

In particular, in the cities near and around the border, meetings of people’s units frequently take place advocating the “act of giving accommodation to people crossing the border illegally prohibited.”

The people say “People with money suffer damages whereas of the people with no money, the unlucky person will suffer severe regulation and punishment” and informed the current atmosphere in the area “Excluding similar political issues, everyone either pretends or closes an eye to the situation.”

Good Friends said “The biggest issue for the people is food and firewood. It is imperative that even an additional kilo is secured and sent to the people so they may live throughout the winter” and “Wherever you go, you hear that the immediate best plan is to find a way to live. Who would listen to lectures which proclaim not to illegally cross the border?”

Recently, the citizens participating in field operations conducted by the people’s units are known to be suffering severe fatigue.

In Sungchon River-district, Ham-heung, members of the people’s units go out to the fields every day with great dissatisfaction and the head of the household must go out to the fields every morning every day of the week without fail to supervise the cable operations, informed Good Friends.


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