A civilian guarding the China-North Korean border. Having a rifle on the shoulder, he seems to belong to “Red Guard.” Taken by Park Young-min from Chinese side toward North Pyongan Province in the end of September 2017. (ASIAPRESS)


After having pushed ahead with 6th nuclear test on September 6, Kim Jong-un regime has fiercely continued wordy war with Trump administration. It is informed that as disturbing rumors are circulating, the authority aggressively tries to shut out them and to arrest the source of the rumor by holding rallies toward local residents.

As tension goes up with the USA, Kim Jong-un regime tries to unite its people for the preparation of war: It held a rally for high school students to apply for conscription and executed emergency drill of militia, such as “Reserve Forces” and “Red Guard.”

However, it, paradoxically, produces various rumors among the residents. Followings are the reports by reporting partners from the end of September to October 6.

The reporting partner at Yanggang Province said in regard with the economic sanction by China, “The security forces (police) arrested a merchant who spread the rumor that the bridge over the border between China and North Korea would be blocked as the rumor caused vendors stop selling Chinese products.

Another reporting partner in the northern area of North Korea reported: “There was a public speech at the end of September by the security forces (police). The subject was about rooting out groundless rumors which would provoke chaos amid highly tense situation. Don’t relay any unconfirmed hearsay to others, if so, the person would be punished along with the originator of the rumor. Report immediately when you hear any suspicious story. That was the contents of the speech.”

It is the market where information is shared in North Korea which perfectly controls the media. Hyesan market in northern part of North Korea in November 2011. (ASIAPRESS)

Attacking by China?

A notice at Inminban meeting (residents’ meeting at the lowest administration level) was given to the residents that rumormonger would be arrested and punished, said the reporting partners. Then what are the rumors?

“Many people believe that the war is imminent. Rumor that the Chinese products would be unavailable soon is circulating.” (Reporting partner in North Hamkyung Province)

“Rumors are abundant such as that a war will break out. Rumors are like, ‘so soldiers are not discharged (even after completing service). Discharged soldiers are ordered to work at armaments factories. Our country will be colonized by Chinese invasion’.” (Aforementioned reporting partner in Yanggang Province)

“A woman was arrested because she was the epicenter of the rumor that the Chinese army would advance to North Korea for the preparation of war. On hearing rumors, shamans are circulating them verbally across the country.” (A reporting partner in northern area)

Many people weigh credibility on the information from the word of mouth because they don’t believe what the government says to them. The government grips perfect control over media and give its people only the political propaganda. That sentiment is especially strong at the northern area of North Korea where information from China is easily accessible.

Kim Jong-un regime want to unite its people by making tensions inside the nation as the confrontation with the US and China is getting more serious. That is why the authority is so aggressive on checking the groundless rumors because the rumors on the war or the economy may cause social disturbance or side effects.

The reporting partner in Yanggang Province says about the government: “What happened at far away is quickly known to people because of widely used mobile phones. Businesspeople are sensitive to that kind of information. But the head above is so nervous about the circulation of rumors.”

Women carry staple foods from rural area to cities by bikes. They are the carriers of information as well. Taken by Chang Jong-gil at suburb of Pyongyang in August 2008.


Rimjingang_banner001* Editor’s notes on North Korean reporters
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