On the second day after the official release of news of Kim Jong Il’s death, North Korea remains calm.
A source from Shinuiju told Daily NK earlier today, “There is a state crackdown underway, yes, but people are naturally paying careful attention to their actions anyway so nothing unusual has happened. From today, quiet memorial ceremonies are being held on every farm, in every enterprise and at every meeting of the Union of Democratic Women.”
The source went on, “Meetings have been organized by all kinds of work unit without any official guidelines from the state. Units are visiting statues of the Supreme Leader or places where the General provided onsite guidance during his lifetime”
There are almost no statues of Kim Jong Il himself in North Korea, causing a measure of confusion.
In the case of Shinuiju, memorial services are being conducted in Kim Il Sung Square in front of a major statue of the leader. In smaller rural towns in the vicinity of Shinuiju such as Uiju and Yomju, the ceremonies are instead being conducted before the ubiquitous alternative; towers commemorating the eternal life of Kim Il Sung.
“In the places where there is no statue of the General or memorial stone, there must be concern as to where the memorial ceremony should take place,” the source commented.
The situation on the ground is similar in North Hamkyung Province.
A source from Hoeryeong informed Daily NK, “Here, people are gathering before the statue of Kim Jong Suk to participate in memorial services. Cadres are telling people to remain calm this time despite their grief”. Kim Jong Suk was the Hoeryeong-born first wife of Kim Il Sung and mother of Kim Jong Il.
The atmosphere is similar among North Koreans in China, where students have been ordered not to hurry home. .
One North Korean student at a university in China said, “We are all in grief because of our leader’s death but we have been ordered to ‘act no differently’ than any normal day and to focus on our studies.”
Amongst the merchants in Dandong, everything is also quiet, even more so than might have been anticipated.
One woman who dispatches Chinese goods to North Korea said, “I thought that after the news of Chariman Kim Jong Il’s death, cadres would ask me to get floral tributes sent to North Korea but I have heard nothing of the sort“. On Kim Il Sung’s birthday in 2010 she sent approximately 300 such tributes to North Korea.
People working at customs in Dandong said they have seen North Koreans crossing the railroad bridge over the Yalu River dressed in suits and holding flowers. It is assumed that these people are North Korean trade officials working in China.
Someone affiliated with the customs authorities in Dandong said, “We have been informed that there is to be no formal customs formalities during the mourning period. We are doing everything in our power to avoid hindering North Koreans from returning home.”