Daily NK has received information confirming the level of stage management that went into the memorial service for Kim Jong Il on December 28th in Pyongyang.
A source from the city told Daily NK on January 2nd, “The day before the event sending off comrade Kim Jong Il, heads of people’s units told us that ‘comrade Kim Jong Eun will also be escorting the General’s hearse bare-handed’ and conveyed a list of important instructions.”
According to the source, the authorities were intending to make sure that mourners were visible at every step along the hearse’s journey and that those attending not be wearing hats, gloves or scarves even if it was snowing. Residents were warned, the source said, that “behind every line there will be people watching.”
All appeared to go to plan; while South Korea’s meteorological authorities report that temperatures in Pyongyang on the 28th were a frigid -2.4°C, footage of the funeral ceremony from Chosun Central TV did indeed show Kim Jong Eun escorting the hearse bare-handed, and nobody visibly wearing gloves or scarves in the snowy conditions.
The source said that those ordered to keep watch on the behavior of the crowds were students from Kim Il Sung University, Kim Chaek University of Technology and Pyongyang University of Railways.
In other news, the source reported also that a numbers of cadres from the Central Party may have been purged as part of a program of criticism sessions dealing with misdemeanors dating from the mourning period.
“The mourning period has only been finished for a few days and already there are rumors that a few central cadres including the chief history lecturer at Kang Ban Seok Political School have been disposed of via criticism sessions for mistakes made during the mourning period,” the source explained. Kang Ban Seok Political School was established in 1947 for the original purpose of educating the female children of war heroes as Party cadres.
Similar events occurred following the death of Kim Il Sung, when the authorities employed criticism sessions to deal with real and perceived disloyalty so as to create an atmosphere of fear that helped Kim Jong Il establish his total authority.
A source from Yangkang Province commented to Daily NK that the criticism sessions were being referred to there too as an “important acid test of loyalty.” The source added, “To put it simply, what they mean is that anyone who was not participating sincerely during this period or disobeyed the instructions given out will be punished regardless of who they are.”
December 29th to January 8th, the latter being Kim Jong Eun’s birthday, is the designated period for criticism sessions regarding the mourning period.