Kaesong Workers Sent Far and Wide

The 53,000 former Kaesong Industrial Complex workers from North Korea have been dispatched to a wide range of alternative workplaces in the North Hwanghae Province region, and are currently being given lectures and study sessions to eradicate the “capitalist ideas” they picked up while working in Kaesong, Daily NK has learned.

A source from Sariwon in North Hwanghae Province told Daily NK on the 3rd, “All the workers who used to be in Kaesong have been dispatched to factories, enterprises and cooperative farms in the North Hwanghae Province region. The workers are getting annoyed, because the authorities are forcing them to attend thought reform study sessions on Party policy for more than two hours a day.”

The source added, “They are part of an ideological battle to pluck out capitalist ideas by the roots. The Party cadres running the self-criticism sessions want to know every detail of the conversations they had with the managers of the South Chosun companies they worked for.”

The lectures and study sessions accurately convey the fear of the North Korean authorities at having to integrate 53,000 workers with experience of both South Korean capitalism and the attitudes and ideas of South Korean managers. By distributing the workers in small numbers to all corners of Hwanghae Province, the authorities presumably hope to limit their interactions with one another and decrease the danger of dissatisfaction at the closure rising to the surface.

“The men who did technical work in Kaesong have been dispatched to factories, while most of the women have gone to cooperative farms,” the source said. “Many of them are pretty aggravated because these placements have been done unilaterally by the provincial Party People’s Committee Department of Labor, and have little to do with their personal aptitude.”

Elsewhere, Daily NK has learned that the former workers are well aware that it was the North Korean authorities that unilaterally withdrew from the complex, launching the latest crisis.

The source explained, “Cadres place the responsibility for the closure on the South because ‘the South Korean authorities drove Kaesong to the brink of closure,’ but the workers know that we withdrew our people first.”