Protests in North Korea


Last week we got report of the first public protest in North Korea against their communist dictatorship.

North Koreans are not stupid and do not think they haven’t protested before, however this is a first since they kept their mouth shut and covered each other. Usually the pressure and fear of punishment from the state makes people tell on each other at some point.

According to South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo newspaper, citing a North Korean source, demonstrations broke out on 14 February, two days before Kim Jong-il’s birthday, in the cities of Jongju, Yongchon and Sonchon, not far from the border of China. The State Security Department (the all-powerful agency under Kim Jong-il’s direct control) investigated the incident but failed to identify the people who started the commotion when they met with a wall of silence.

“When such an incident took place in the past, people used to report their neighbours to the security forces, but now they’re covering for each other,” the source said.

Solidarity! Solidarity! ^^

Why now?
Of course different factors are at play. Some evoke the wave of protest from the Mideast reaching as far as hermit North Korea.  Obviously, the country’s worsening economic situation plays a crucial role. People are dying even more than before, famines everywhere. Furthermore others say North Koreans do not approve of the younger Kim and are trying to stop the succession. Korean sources told AsiaNews that this represents a crack in the prevailing mindset. The younger Kim is “feared by the population,” the source said. “He is viewed as bloodthirsty and mad”.


“Almost everyone thinks he was behind the military attacks against ROKS Cheonan and an island under South Korean control, which led to restrictions on humanitarian aid from the South. This has further worsened standards of living in the North. North Koreans are ready to do just about anything to stop the succession.” 

South Koreans Role
The South Koreans are trying to incite the anti-dictatorship protests.  Last Friday they sent leaflets explaining the situation and fight for democracy in Egypt and Libya to try to incite North Koreans to rebel against their government. The leaflets, as well as food and medicines, were dropped from the sky, tied to time-programmed balloons which could automatically release the items above the target areas in North Korea.

The defense ministry of South Korea declined to confirm about the recent move. They have a policy to not commenting any sensitive issue dealing with the North.

Analysts said that it would be difficult for North Koreans to emulate the anti-government protests in Egypt or Libya as their government have a tight control over communication and movement of the people.
Yesterday, North Korea threatened military actions over the South encouragements. They said they  will fire across a land border with South Korea if Seoul continues its anti-North psychological campaign.

“We officially notify that our army will stage a direct fire at the Rimjin Pavilion and other sources of the anti-DPRK psychological warfare to destroy them on the principle of self-defense, if such actions last despite our repeated warning.”

The Rimjin Pavilion is an area in South Korea near the heavily armed Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) which separates the two Koreas.
Hopefully, North Koreans will be liberated one way or another.  I’m not quite sure it will be soon even if the recent events are helping. I just wish for their and our safety. When I refer to North Koreans I mean the common people not the leaders.  They can die.



About Kosmik

Isabelle aka kosmik is a McGill University East Asian Studies undergraduate who decided learning about Asia should be from the source. She is now studying as an exchange student at Korea University. Follow her as she discovers the subtleties of the Kimchi Rebuplic.
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6 Responses to Protests in North Korea

  1. J says:

    >Seriously, good for the North if they can be liberated but as long as your safety is kept. Stupid Leaders :/

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