Aside from the near-compulsory bribery that has become the norm in North Korea, children hoping to attend the Chosun Children’s Union 66th anniversary celebrations in Pyongyang from June 3rd to 6th also had to pass rigorous medical examinations to gain eligibility for the event, a source from Shinuiju has revealed to Daily NK.
“Because the Supreme Commander is going to meet the Children’s Union representatives personally, physical examinations for those going to Pyongyang were strict” the source explained, adding that this meant two or three rounds of blood tests and other examinations.
There was also a great deal of effort expended by parents to put their children on the right side of cadres from the Kim Il Sung Socialist Youth League, which oversees the activities of the Chosun Children’s Union.
When the cost of nice clothes and pocket money was added to the $150-$200 in outright bribes that some parents are known to have paid, then the total cost reached a staggering $400.
“More than nine out of ten kids who attended the Children’s Union representatives’ meeting were from powerful and wealthy backgrounds and were willing to pay more money, which led to competition,” the source asserted. “In the end, the selection process resulted in a test separating the lower classes from the upper.”
“People reckon that it had a bad effect on kids who couldn’t participate,” she went on, “and moms complained that classes were being divided distinctly along feudal lines into ‘aristocrats’ and ‘commoners’. They are complaining openly that the new leader is a supporter only for the aristocrats.”
“Participants were given medical treatment, beverages and sweets from the minute they boarded the train, which earned them envy from the parents of children who couldn’t go.”