- North Korea has reportedly had to increase security around monuments to the Kim dynasty as dissent grows among ordinary citizens.
- Experts say citizens are getting tired of the Kim regime because of harsh economic and social circumstances.
- North Korea’s highest-level defector predicted that citizens would overthrow Kim within 10 years.
The North Korean government has ordered security forces to keep a close watch on monuments and paintings of the Kim dynasty, as they fear “hostile elements” within the country may vandalise them, according to South Korea’s Daily NK.
Daily NK, a Seoul-based news website that purports to have a large network of informants within North Korea, reports that US-led sanctions have affected the economy in the country and now citizens may turn on the Kim government.
The Kim dynasty, currently led by Kim Jong Un, has presided over North Korea for more than 70 years.
During this time, the country has seen famine and hardship unimaginable in the developed world. Lately, under Kim Jong Un, the country’s economy has shifted from strict socialism to a slightly more open market, but a drought earlier this year hurt harvests.
“Orders have been handed down to increase attention towards ‘eternal life’ towers, oil paintings, and wall murals located all over the country. Public security officers (police) have been mobilized for night patrols,” a Pyongyang source told Daily NK.
In North Korea, all men older than 16 are expected to wear a pin honouring the Kim dynasty, and nearly every home in the country bears the portraits of the three Kim leaders. Citizens can be killed or sentenced to work in labour camps if they’re caught with outside media, and even folding a picture of one of the Kims so that it puts a crease on the leaders face is a punishable offence.
Toshimitsu Shigemura, a professor at Tokyo’s Waseda University and an expert on North Korea, told the Telegraph that he’s seen reports of North Koreans targeting monuments that honour Kim, “particularly in the more remote areas of the country.”
“Younger generations of North Koreans have little respect for Kim Jong-un and we are beginning to see that come to the surface,” he said.
Though North Korea tightly controls its messaging and pushes propaganda to the outside world, citizens of the country often defect and tell different tales.
Only the most fit and patriotic citizens can live in Pyongyang, the country’s capital, but outside the city in less productive areas, experts say dissent has remained persistent but in check.
Thae Yong Ho, the highest-level diplomatic official to defect from North Korea, told South Korea’s JoongAng Daily in August that “over the past decades, there were a myriad of anti-Workers’ Party, anti-revolutionary events in North Korea.”
Thae said “ordinary citizens” were “very much against” the leadership.
“The chasm between the Kim Jong Un regime and the general public is widening every year, and some day, the two sides will ultimately break like a rubber band,” Thae added. “I think that day will come within the next 10 years.”
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