The North Korean authorities are currently reorganizing areas of public security and order, education and health policy, Daily NK has learned. The newly emerging guidelines are an uncomfortable mish-mash of enhanced controls over civilian behavior and modest efforts to encourage new methodologies.
A source from Yangkang Province revealed news of public order changes on the 19th, explaining, “Ever since the policy on new economic management came out [the ‘June 28th Policy’], other policies have been appearing one after another. The authorities are getting things ready, I suppose.”
According to the source, in the period following the public release of the June 28th ‘On the establishing of a new economic management system in our own style’ policy, a number of secondary guidelines designed to establish societal discipline have been issued, including ones on the management of state secrets and effective surveillance.
Notably, the authorities are in the middle of yet another investigation into the circulation of external information in the Hyesan region, an investigation that includes demanding that citizens simply confess to their crimes.
The source explained, “They are gathering people by factory, school and people’s unit and telling them to write letters confessing precisely what foreign media they have viewed up to now. When they give you the paper they warn you, saying they know everything anyway so just write it down; when, where and what you saw, where and from whom you got it, and your impression of it.”
“They are looking into the use of Chinese cell phones at the same time,” the source added, saying that the project is being run by the well known ‘109 Inspection Team’ [‘109 Gruppa’].
Meanwhile, a different source from North Pyongan Province revealed to Daily NK yesterday that at the same time as the authorities are pushing through the latest public security crackdown, other new policy guidelines are going into effect in the education, health and judicial sectors.
These policies are potentially more interesting than those pertaining to public order, since the latter has long been a key issue for regime security. On the other hand, changes in other areas are less common.
In terms of health policy, the authorities are seeking to curtail the practice of paying bribes to obtain medical certificates that permit an individual to excuse themselves from labor on farms or in factories. However, a second order has called for research into the benefits that might be offered to families with larger numbers of children.
In terms of education, orders have been handed down calling for universities of education at all levels to research new educational methodologies, including those from overseas. The authorities have also issued guidelines emphasizing the exact implementation of the state’s physical education policy in all elementary and middle schools so as to guarantee an appropriate amount of physical education time for all students.
“The era of comrade Kim Jong Eun is just a few months old, so the policies are coming thick and fast,” the source commented. “But most people are actually less interested in these sorts of policies than in whether the Party Light Industry Department head [Pak Pong Ju] can win out.”
“It’s not a policy per se, but cadres have been told ‘not to think about the rights and wrongs of Pak Pong Ju or to complain about him, just to help the country and people to do better’,” he added.