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Students walking to classes at Kim Il Sung University (Kim Il Sung University website)

North Korea recently distributed “explanatory materials” to the Socialist Patriotic Youth League emphasizing the struggle against watching or distributing “impure recorded materials.”

With the Fifth Expanded Meeting of the Eighth Central Committee on June 8 to 10 analyzing and reviewing the nation’s efforts to combat “anti-socialist and non-socialist behavior” and calling for an intensified struggle, the authorities are apparently bolstering their efforts to ideologically educate the youth.

According to a Daily NK source in North Hamgyong Province on Wednesday, North Korea recently distributed a set of explanatory materials entitled “Thoroughly Eliminate the Phenomenon of Watching or Distributing Impure Recorded Materials” to Socialist Patriotic Youth League organizations.

The materials called for an intensive struggle against watching or distributing “impure materials.”

In the materials, North Korean authorities claimed the failure to stop the secret viewing and distribution of “strange, decadent” recordings has been “tarnishing a healthy social atmosphere.” The materials warned that “once you get a taste, you just cannot stop and in the end, you will find yourself up to your neck in treason and betrayal, just as the nation’s enemies intended.”

In particular, North Korea called secretly watching or smuggling in and distributing impure recordings “when the imperialists’ ideological and cultural intrusion schemes are growing crueler than ever” an “act of treason fundamentally no different from pointing a gun at your fatherland and its people when they are suffering.” 

The materials further said that, “If you’re still going around with hidden impure recordings of a strange and decadent nature, watching them, smuggling them or illegally selling them, we can only call this an intentional act to drag our youth into fantasies about capitalism and rotten bourgeois lifestyles.”

With young North Koreans continuing to watch and distribute videos from abroad in the face of constant crackdowns, North Korea is demanding young people be on guard against the importation of capitalist culture, deeming its consumption akin to “treason.”

The materials warned that “class enemies, including the US imperialists,” are engaged in “all sorts of dirty, cruel schemes” to “penetrate other nations’ borders and spread strange, impure recordings inside our country.”

The materials said the US imperialists and class enemies are trying even harder to weaken “our socialist system, the life and livelihood of the people from the inside.” What the enemies want is to carry out a “propaganda scheme” to paralyze the ideological consciousness of the youth and — the materials reiterated — weaken North Korea’s socialist system from the inside.

North Korea also called on young people living in border regions to be on high alert against such enemy schemes and spare no effort to continue “reflecting the pride and honor of being the heroes of a strong nation of the youth.”

By distributing these materials, North Korea is focusing on heading off possible ideological alienation of the part of the youth. Yet, inside North Korea, people say the authorities will have a tough time suppressing young people’s desire for new cultures using hackneyed ideological education.

The source said every Socialist Patriotic Youth League committee in Chongjin is holding related lectures twice a week.

“They’re even going to where young people are very busily supporting agricultural work, gathering those exhausted from the day’s work for lectures,” he said.

However, the source said young people, keenly interested in “new things,” continue to watch films and TV shows from “developed countries.”

“Young people might hide a bit if the government cracks down hard on watching and distributing foreign films, including films from South Korea, but nothing will change much,” he said.

Translated by David Black. Edited by Robert Lauler.

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