[imText1]A number of “slogan trees”, one of the best-known symbols of the idolization of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il, were burnt in mid-November in Kim Jong Suk County, Yangkang Province, in a fire which is being attributed to arson.
According to North Korea Intellectual Solidarity (NKIS), the slogan trees were in the vicinity of the “Shinpa Revolution Museum” in Kim Jong Suk County. More than a dozen trees were burnt, and some buildings in the area were also reported to have been damaged.
Slogan trees are adorned with phrases such as “Hurrah for the Shining Star of Paekdu Mountain”, which is a reference to Kim Jong Il, or “Hurrah for the Three Great Generals”, which refers to Kim Il Sung, Kim Jong Suk, and Kim Jong Il.
“This fire broke out amidst a state of alert triggered in September when a similar incident occurred in the same area. The authorities are regarding this incident as an act by dissenters with external ties,” the NKIS report explained.
The area is home to a statue of Kim Jong Suk, the biological mother of Kim Jong Il, as well as several sites about the Japanese resistance era such as the Shinpa Revolutionary Museum and the slogan trees. The slogan trees are preserved forever in reinforced glass imported from abroad, while the remaining living trees are surrounded by protective fencing and embellished with ornaments.
“North Korea severely punishes those who inflict damage on slogan trees, considering it a grave offense that damages the authority of the leader,” the NKIS report explained.
Subsequently, “A furious Kim Jong Il ordered a strict investigation into Kim Jong Suk District, which resulted in the punishment of related officials,” said an anonymous NKIS source. Among those reported to have been arrested as a result of the incident are the Chief Secretary of the Party in the area, the director of the organization charged with preserving revolutionary heritage, and several officials in charge of security and safety.