Yanji, China — In Hyesan, Yangkang Province, markets have been significantly reduced in size and scope recently, due to the anti-socialist group’s inspections; however, they have become lively again in the past few days as inspections by the National Defense Commission (NDC) have gotten underway.
A source in North Korea reported to Daily NK on Friday that “Merchants in Hyesan these days are fish in water. They say that they would not mind at all going through such inspections for an entire the year!”
According to the source, the inspections by the NDC actually have eased the merchants’ weariness since June. This is so because originally, the merchants were at unease when under inspection by the National Security Agency (NSA) and other governmental organizations which govern the jangmadang.
For example, transportation of goods by traders has withered away since last year, as the authority of the People’s Safety Agency (PSA) rose and launched on a strict crackdown on traders’ belongings.
The source explained the situation in Hyesan, that “Hyesan had become the city where Chinese goods were traded for the cheapest value because Chinese goods that arrive at Hyesan just before the (PSA) inspection period could not be transported inland due to the inspection of trains and cars. Lives of the common people became even tougher than before, since goods could not be circulated through the jangmadang in spite of their low prices.”
“The more stringent the regulation became, the more bribes cadres received and worsened were the lives of people,” the source added.
However, the latest inspections by the NDC focus only on the corruption and irrationality of the cadres. Cell phone usage, and the smuggling of goods and drugs, were included on the list of items under inspection for ordinary residents; private traders were excluded.
On the down side, the inspections excluding traders, those who have relatives among high officials in North Korea or in China dominate the trade since they are the source of the majority of financial resources.
They corner goods from Chinese traders and control market prices in order to derive great benefits. They generate excessive interests through sales on credit and usury from small scale traders and ordinary people.
The source relayed news that “General traders have been set loose, and only smugglers are being regulated, so the wealthy financial sources are making money. Smugglers had been trading the small goods with domestic traders, but now traders in the jangmadang and smugglers are suffering under the latest inspections.