Officials in the North Korean city of Rason have ordered local youth to attend lectures on the Ten Principles for the Establishment of the One-Ideology System and to memorize the words of the Kim family leaders. The efforts appear to be part of a renewed bid by the North Korean authorities to strengthen ideological indoctrination amongst the so-called market generation.
The Rason City Kimilsungist-Kimjongilist Youth League (formerly known as the Kim Il Sung Socialist Youth League) has reportedly been forcing local youth to attend lectures on the Ten Principles for the Establishment of the One-Ideology System and the teachings of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il during morning sessions.
“Some elementary youth committees are forcing the local youth to memorize the ‘great speeches and teachings’ of the Taewonsu (Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il), as well as the Ten Principles for two hours from 7 to 9 am each morning. The measures are seen as excessive,” a source in North Hamgyong Province told Daily NK on May 18.
“In December 2015, the Marshal (Kim Jong Un) handed down instructions to ‘triple the ideological education for youth,’ and efforts have recently resumed. Each day, officials are informing young residents that they can only go home if they pass a memorization test on the Ten Principles.”
The regime is undertaking wider efforts to enforce loyalty within the so-called ‘jangmadang generation’ who are surviving on their own through market activities rather than the previous generation who were reliant on state provisions. Located in the border region, Rason City is particularly more vulnerable to the influx of external news, prompting more focused efforts by the regime.
“Rason City is a special development area and vulnerable to external influences, so the authorities are more obsessed with ideological education of younger people in this region than any other,” she said.
However, the strengthening of ideological education alone is deemed insufficient to restrain the curiosities of the market generation.
“It has long been known that young people began listening to South Korean music and are dancing together in groups. They openly recite propaganda slogans in public, but they don’t really believe them,” a source in Ryanggang Province told Daily NK on May 17.
She further added that despite the regime’s efforts to strengthen ideological education, the market generation are able to compare regime propaganda with outside information, and are not easy to manipulate.
“An increasing number of young people are becoming disillusioned by the excessive coercion of the regime and reject the overt worship of previous leaders. The authorities are adopting various measures to brainwash them, blocking outside information, but the youth who are progressive and receptive to new ideas are becoming resistant to the regime,” she said.