North Claims Harsh Punishment for Tumen Detainees

North Korea is reportedly using false propaganda about the completed repatriation of arrested defectors to create a domestic atmosphere of fear in border areas, claiming that the returnees “have received severe punished by the Republic.”

A source from Yangkang Province told Daily NK today, “At the Saturday study meeting of the Union of Democratic Women on the 25th there was a lecture, ‘The last days of the defectors’.”

“The lecture included a part about how ‘defectors who had sullied the reputation of the socialist system finally got arrested by the Chinese security forces, were handed over to us and have received severe punishment by the Republic’,” she went on.

Continuing, “This lecturer from the military Party propaganda department came along and told us that ‘the South Chosun puppet party plots to slip just a few dollars to citizens along the border because they are trying so ridiculously hard to destroy our socialism’.”

“The authorities warned the people that under no circumstance should they be deceived by the sugared words of the enemy, declaring, ‘No matter who, nobody can break our people’s single-minded unity of spirit around great leader comrade Kim Jong Eun’,” the source went on. “They also used the concrete example of the arrested refugees in China to instill fear.”

The authorities expect the lecture contents to be passed on by those Union of Democratic Women chairs and people’s unit leaders present, thus disseminating fear in local society and discouraging future defections.

“There was confusion because usually the North Korean authorities refer to defectors as ‘traitors’ but they called them ‘defectors’,” the source added. While Uriminzzokkiri and other North Korean media outlets targeting the outside use the expression ‘defector,’ it is unusual for the authorities to refer to do so in a domestic lecture.

Despite the claim, Daily NK is aware that the 24 arrested refugees still had not been repatriated to North Korea as of the 27th. According to someone supporting defectors in the region, there are now a total of 41 refugees waiting to be repatriated to North Korea, including the 24 refugees detained in and around Shenyang and previously detained persons.

To forestall their repatriation, the man urged people in South Korea and China to keep going with the issue, saying, “Because China is waiting for the South Korean government and international community to calm down, the South Korean government must not stop and must continue making this a problem until they can see a resolution. If the security forces here see a moment of calm, they will pass the refugees to North Korea.”