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.


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