North Korean authorities in North Hamgyong Province recently held a lecture for security officials focused on the dangers of South Korean propaganda, Daily NK has learned.  

“The lectures were held early this month for Ministry of Public Security [MPS] officials in Chongjin and other places in the province,” a source in North Hamgyong Province told Daily NK on June 8. “The session included a story about a man whose ideology became subverted after encountering South Korean propaganda. He came to express unfettered yearning for South Korea and criticize the North Korean government, for which he was ultimately executed.”

According to the source, the lecturer described a man known only as “Han” who lived in a coastal area in South Hwanghae Province. After coming across South Korean propaganda, Han began to openly extol the virtues of South Korea and encourage others to abandon their belief in the country’s communist party, leading to his execution. 

Han reportedly spoke without reserve about how he yearned for South Korea, as if he had visited the country himself. 

“The night view is very beautiful in South Korea,” he was reported to have said. “South Korea is a developed nation that sits on top of the world. We may die after an ‘arduous march,’ without ever having eaten a full meal of rice and beef soup.”

Han was eventually arrested by the Ministry of State Security (MSS) after being reported by those around him. During the investigation that followed, Han reportedly confessed that he had read “enemy” publications while working at the 1st Corps, which is stationed on the front lines (the 38th Parallel). The lecturer reportedly pointed out that reading such propaganda was in violation of military rules that stipulate soldiers must immediately report the material to their MSS office without reading it. 

The lecturer also noted that Han had endangered his own life by secretly eating food packaged with the propaganda leaflets. After falling ill, he was unable to complete his military service and was discharged after five years. After he returned to his hometown and continued to spout nonsense, he ended up subverting simple-hearted farmers.

“He [Han] was unable to endure the sharp ears and eyes of the people after being subverted by the enemy and was executed in late May,” the source said, based on what was said during the lecture. “The lecturer emphasized that those who cohort with the enemy will not be able to evade the stern judgment of the people.” 

The lecture also included demands that people “apprehend such individuals and punish all of them in the name of the revolution” and to “remain loyal to the red flag of socialism until the very end.” The source said that the lecture ended with a “stirring” statement: “We must treasure the enduring spirit of putting our all our trust in the [North Korean communist] party.”

“The lecture was held for MPS officers first because [the leadership] is concerned that the officers could come in contact with the propaganda leaflets and this could cause ideological problems,” the source said. 

The source also speculated that the move to hold the lectures for MPS officers may be aimed at “increasing their role” in combating people who criticize the government for the country’s deteriorating economic situation.

Please direct any comments or questions about this article to dailynkenglish@uni-media.net.

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Kim Yoo Jin is one of Daily NK's freelance journalists. Please direct any questions about his articles to dailynkenglish@uni-media.net.