Projects underway to promote Kim Jong Un’s
legacy as a leader ahead of the 7th Party Congress in May are said to be in
full swing across the nation. One such project taking place in Ryanggang
Province calls for the full mobilization of residents to build an orphanage as
an expression of the leader’s “love for the next generation,” Daily NK has
“Authorities have recently been harassing
residents saying that the orphanage under construction next to Kim Jong Suk
Teachers’ College in Yonbong-dong needs to be ready for the Marshal’s (Kim Jong
Un) inspection by the time of the Party Congress,” a source in Ryanggang
Province told Daily NK on Thursday. “The provincial party office has been
hurrying people along, claiming the construction must be completed before the
Progress was said to be slow during the
winter, which was unseasonably cold, but construction efforts are now appearing
to ramp up.
The project is being driven by the
provincial head secretary and other cadres from the provincial Party and
People’s Committee and is being promoted as a means to express loyalty to the
leader, who has emphasized his “love for children,” said the source.
She added that cadres associated with the efforts, who
have confidently stated that the facility will see completion before the Party
Congress, have also been intensifying crackdowns on those seeking to avoid
mobilization, out of concern that failure to complete the project on time may
lead to issues of accountability.
“Vendors who are busy trying to make a
living in the market were often able to get out (of mobilization) with bribes,
but even that isn’t easy now,” a separate source in Ryanggang Province explained.
“The price for skipping a
day of mobilization is now up to 10 RMB (13,000 KPW) a day per head, so some
find it more affordable to just go to the construction site.”
The 13,000 KPW demanded is enough to
purchase approximately 2kg of rice based on current prices, which is far from
negligible for most members of the public. The higher price tag in effect acts
as a tool to turn up the heat on people for mobilization.
The pressure to complete the project before
the major political gathering has led to mobilization of students in the
afternoons and workers at state-run factory as well.
The near full mobilization also involves
specialized colleges, meaning that among the younger generation, stormtroopers
(who are working on a railway project in Samjiyon) are seemingly the only group
among ordinary residents that are exempt from the orphanage project.