(AP Photo/Korean Central News Agency via Korea News Service)
Harsh Punishments for Poor Mourning
The North Korean authorities have completed the criticism sessions which began after the mourning period for Kim Jong Il and begun to punish those who transgressed during the highly orchestrated mourning events.
Daily NK learned from a source from North Hamkyung Province on January 10th, “The authorities are handing down at least six months in a labor-training camp to anybody who didn’t participate in the organized gatherings during the mourning period, or who did participate but didn’t cry and didn’t seem genuine.”
Furthermore, the source added that people who are accused of circulating rumors criticizing the country’s 3rd generation dynastic system are also being sent to re-education camps or being banished with their families to remote rural areas.
Daily NK earlier reported news that criticism sessions were being held at all levels of industry, in enterprises and by local people’s units starting on December 29th, the last day of the mourning period. A source said at the time that the central authorities had ordered the sessions to be completed by January 8th.
The North Hamkyung source commented of the sessions that they “created a vicious atmosphere of fear, causing people to accuse ‘that young upstart’ (Kim Jong Eun) of preying on the people now that he has taken power.”
In May 2011, Amnesty International referenced satellite imagery and testimony while estimating that the labor camps hold 200,000 people.
The AFP report carrying North Korea’s bitter denial (“denouncing those who spread the allegations as ‘pitiable human scum'”) fails to mention the “criticism sessions” which enhance the Daily NK story’s credibility, especially since the Daily NK reported the existence of those sessions nine days earlier, before it knew the specifics of what might result from them:
Mourning Criticism Sessions til 8th
An inside source has reported that the expected criticism sessions have gotten underway to deal with those people who transgressed in the eyes of the authorities during the mourning period for Kim Jong Il.
The source from Yangkang Province told Daily NK yesterday, “From the 29th, enterprises at every level and people’s units started criticism sessions. Those who were not in attendance at commemorative events were branded ‘traitors’; those who were not sufficiently sincere during mourning events became ‘reactionaries’.”
The source added that this is generating fear in the people, explaining, “When the North Korean authorities say that the people were insincere it basically means a declaration of war on those who did things like not crying or only attended once, so people are feeling very uneasy.”
“There is an order from the Party to finish the criticism by January 8th, so there are ongoing investigations and discussions involving criticism every day,” he added, before noting, “Those people who brought white flowers from their homes to the statue instead of newly made ones are also targets for punishment.”
In this photo released by China’s Xinhua News Agency, North Koreans gather in front of the statue of the country’s founder Kim Il Sung at Mansu Hill in Pyongyang, North Korea, to pay their respects to their leader Kim Jong Il, son of Kim Il Sung, on Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2011. Kim Jong Il died on Saturday, Dec. 17, North Korean state media announced Monday. (AP Photo/Xinhua, Zhang Li)
Newsbusters searched the web for stories which might have referenced the “criticism sessions” and punishments and discovered that neither the Associated Press, nor the New York Times nor FoxNews.com have relayed the substance of the Daily NK report.
See Newsbusters for the more complimentary stories they have run.