Shenyang, China — The North Korean authorities have been running a nationwide military rice procurement drive since the beginning of the year, inside sources revealed today.
Orders launching the drive, which came from the Central Committee of the Party, apparently forbade the option of compelling compliance, sources say, although cadres are reportedly finding ways to apply pressure nonetheless.
According to one source from Pyongyang, “These Party orders were handed down last December, and, on the basis that the military doesn’t have any provisions, they started gathering food from January.”
Departments in charge of military procurement have apparently been focusing their efforts on market traders and enterprise cadres and workers, offering ‘incentives’ to inspire people to help.
The Pyongyang source explained, “In the case of Jung-district Market, traders have been told to pay 40,000 to 50,000 extra per person. The security forces are pressuring people, suggesting that those trading from stalls in good parts of the market but who fail to pay are going to lose their places, and the management will give those stalls to people who do pay.”
Given that rice was trading for 1,900 won/kg at the end of February, the money traders are being asked to give is enough to pay for approximately 20-25kg of rice per person.
Moving on to talk about the case of enterprises, the source went on, “The policy as handed down states that enterprises must give 10kg per person, while cadres are supposed to give 30kg.”
“The authorities don’t hesitate to criticize and attack those who are slow to give their share,” he added.
A source from Sariwon in North Hwanghae Province also confirmed the story, including on the subject of pressure.
“The Party ordered that donations must be obtained by appealing to people’s consciences, but local cadres are saying ‘each person must give however many tens of kilos’, which is tantamount to compelling people,” the source explained.
Partly as a result of this, the drive has been quite successful, the source also said, adding that “anyone who gives one ton can join the Party right there and then; and nobody asks about or investigates the source of the rice.”
As a result, two people have offered ten tons of rice and ten tons of corn, 50 people have given two tons of rice, and a further 200 people have offered one ton of rice, he added.
Therefore, the source said that the Party’s target for Sariwon, which was 800 tons of rice, has been exceeded by a large margin, with the real figure now reaching 2400 tons.