A gold for tyranny 20

Who is Kim Yo Jong ? “Kim Jong Un’s sister is stealing the show at the Winter Olympics”, declared a CNN.com headline. This princess of Pyongyang received a royal welcome from South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in. He seated her in his VIP box, near Vice President Mike Pence, for the opening ceremony. He hosted her for lunch at the presidential Blue House, where she delivered him an invitation for a summit with Mr. Kim. The resulting Reuters headline: “North Korea heading for diplomacy gold medal at the Olympics.”

Yes, the traitorous Left-biased press reporters of the free world were (all too predictably) delighted with Kim Yo Jong, who smiled for them at the Winter Olympics in South Korea.

Claudia Rosett (a perceptive writer and the most reliable authority on the iniquitous United Nations), writing at the Wall Street Journal (February 13, 2018), makes “this princess of Pyongyang” better known for what she really is:

[Kim Yo Jong]  holds a key post in Pyongyang’s fearsome and brutal Propaganda and Agitation Department. …

Missing from most of the media coverage was any detail about Ms. Kim’s day job in Pyongyang. In North Korea this kid sister has served under Big Brother as a deputy director of the powerful and omnipresent Propaganda and Agitation Department. She has apparently racked up a record so stellar that last year the U.S. Treasury blacklisted her as a top North Korean official tied to “notorious abuses of human right”. Mr. Kim gave her an alternate seat on his politburo.

In blacklisting Ms. Kim, the Treasury specified that her department “controls all media in the country, which the government uses to control the public”. That’s an understatement. The Propaganda and Agitation Department’s mission is to control not only media but minds — to indoctrinate all North Koreans, at all levels, in the absolute supremacy of Kim Jong Un and his Workers’ Party. … That entails a pervasive normalization of evil. Any deviation is suppressed via imprisonment, torture and execution. … 

In a detailed report published last year by the Washington-based Committee for Human Rights in North Korea, Robert Collins and Amanda Mortwedt Oh described the Propaganda and Agitation Department as playing “a key role in justifying Kim family rule through domestic and external propaganda.” They added that entire families may be punished if one member is suspected of dissent. The aim is to ensure the survival, glorification and total power of the Kim regime and its hereditary tyrant.

That’s the training and family tradition behind Ms. Kim’s visit to South Korea. Her delegation included plenty of backup, such as Choe Hwi, a vice director of the Propaganda and Agitation Department who has been blacklisted by the US [and even the UN] for human-rights abuses. The Treasury noted that Mr. Choe “has reportedly been responsible for maintaining ideological purity“.  Currently he is chairman of North Korea’s National Sports Guidance Committee.

Ms. Kim, with her freckles and enigmatic smile, is a trained and trusted royal brainwasher for a family regime whose court is built on totalitarian lies. Her admirers in the media ought to be impressed by the professionalism with which she snookered them.

Nothing to Envy,* a book by Barbara Demick about North Korea in the time of Kim Jong Un’s Father, Kim Jong Il, reveals that much of the population went hungry much of the time.

Here is a quotation, describing, as a common event, the death of a prisoner who has been worked and slowly starved to death. Prisoners are needed to work as slaves in the mines and other industries, so people are arrested on flimsy excuses:

[The prisoners were] mostly “economic criminals” who’d gotten in trouble at the border or the market. The actual thieves among them had stolen nothing more than food. One of them was a forty-year old rancher who had worked on a collective farm raising cattle. His crime was that he had failed to report the birth of a dead calf, instead taking the stillborn home to feed his wife and two young children. By the time Hyuck [who relates this story to the author] met him, he had served five years of a ten-year term. … The rancher was gentle and soft-spoken, but one of the senior guards took a strong dislike to him. His wife and children came twice to visit, but were not allowed in to see him or to send gifts of food, privileges allowed some of the more favored prisoners.

The rancher died of starvation. It happened quietly; he went to sleep and didn’t wake up. It was a common occurrence that somebody would die in the night. Often it was obvious in the close sleeping-quarters, because the dying man would evacuate his bladder and tiny bubbles would appear on his lips as fluid seeped out of the body.  

As in all collectivist systems, the community of North Korea is organized for slavery, want, and death.

A few more extracts from Nothing to Envy:

In North Korea …. all staples are grown on collective farms. The state confiscates the entire harvest and then gives a portion back to the farmer… [As famine intensified] the North Korean government offered a variety of explanations, from the patently absurd to the barely plausible. People were told … that the United States had instituted a blockade against North Korea that was keeping out food …

Enduring hunger became part of one’s patriotic duty. …

Chongjin was always prone to epidemics because its sewage system … spilled untreated feces into the streams where women often did the laundry. With the electricity blinking on and off, running water became unreliable. Usually electricity and water worked for one hour in the morning and one hour in the evening, People stored water in big vats at home, which turned into breeding grounds for bacteria. Nobody had soap. Typhoid is easily treated by antibiotics, which by 1994 were almost entirely unavailable. …

How do you tell a mother her child needs more food when there is nothing more to give? [A doctor] would write out a slip admitting the child to the hospital, knowing she had no cure for this condition. The hospital didn’t have any food either …

Over the years the hospital provided less and less. The furnace in the basement went out after it ran out of coal, so the hospital had no heat. When the running water went off, nobody could properly mop the floors. Even in the day it was so dark in the interior of the building that that doctors had to stand by windows to write up their reports. Patients brought their own food, their own blankets. Since bandages were scarce, they would cut up bedding to make them. The hospital was still able to manufacture intravenous fluid, but they didn’t have bottles for it. The patients had to bring their own …

[Many] victims of the North Korean famine … did not go passively to their deaths. When the public distribution system was cut off, they were forced to tap their deepest wells of creativity to feed themselves. They devised traps out of buckets and string to catch small animal in the field, draped nets over their balconies to snare sparrows. They educated themselves in the nutritive properties of plants. … They stripped the sweet inner bark of pine trees to grind into a fine powder that could be used in place of flour. They pounded acorns into a gelatinous paste that could be molded into cubes that practically melted in your mouth. …

If you got out to the mountains, you could maybe find dandelion or other weeds so tasty that people ate them even in good times. Occasionally, Mrs Song [one of the author’s informants] would find rotten cabbage leaves that had been discarded by a farmer. She would take the day’s pickings home and mix it with whatever food she had enough money to buy. Usually it was ground cornmeal – the cheap kind made from the husks and cobs. If she couldn’t afford that, she would buy a still cheaper powder made out of the ground inner bark of the pine, sometimes extended with a little sawdust.

No talent in the kitchen could disguise the god-awful taste. She had to pound away and chop endlessly to get the grasses and the barks into a soft-enough pulp to be digestible. … All she could make was a porridge that was flavorless and textureless. … a porridge mad out of bean and corn stalks … was bitter and dry, and stuck in the throat like the twigs of a bird’s nest…

In the year after Kim Il Sung’s death the only animal product she consumed was frog … North Korea’s frog population would soon be wiped out by overhunting. …

The killer [starvation] has a natural progression. It goes first for the most vulnerable – children under five. They come down with a cold and it turns into pneumonia; diarrhea turns into dysentery. Before the parents even think about getting help, the child is dead. Next the killer turns to the aged … then makes its way through people in the prime of their lives. Men, because they have less body fat, usually perish before women. …

By 1998, an estimated 600,000 people had died as a result of the famine, as much as 10 percent of the population. … Exact figures would be nearly impossible to tally since North Korean hospitals could not report starvation as a cause of death. …

Between 1996 and 2005, North Korea would receive $2.4 billion worth of food aid, much of it from the United States … The relief was off-loaded into trucks by the military and driven away. Some food reached orphanages and kindergartens, but much of it ended up in military stockpiles or sold on the black market. …

By the end of 1998, the worst of the famine was over, not necessarily because anything had improved but … because there were fewer mouths to feed.

Kim Jong-Il had taken an even harder line against individual enterprise than his father. “In a socialist society, even the food problem should be solved in a socialist way. Telling people to solve the food problems on their own creates egotism among people,” he said in a December 1996 speech, one of the few in which he acknowledged the food crisis. … Food was not to be sold on the market. To sell rice or any other grain was strictly forbidden. [It was] considered illegal and immoral, a stab in the heart of Communist ideology. Any private endeavor fell under the rubric of “economic crime” …  In 1997, notices went up … warning that people who stole, hoarded, or sold grains were “stifling our style of socialism” and could be subject to execution. …

Then again, death was a virtual certainty for people who didn’t show some private initiative. A human being needs at least 500 calories per day on average to survive; a person subsisting on a diet of what could be foraged in the woods would not survive more than three months. …

Among the homeless population, a disproportionate number were children or teenagers. In some cases, their parents had gone off in search of jobs or food. But there was another, even stranger, explanation. Facing a food shortage, many North Koreans families conducted a brutal triage of their own households – they denied themselves and often elderly grandparents food in order to keep the younger generation alive. That strategy produced an unusual number of orphans, as the children were often the last ones left of entire families that had perished…

In the first years of the food shortage, the children at the train station survived by begging food, but before long there were simply too many of them and too few people with food to spare…

When begging failed, the children … formed themselves into gangs to steal together …

It was a dangerous life… There were strange stories going around about adults who … would drug children, kill them, and butcher them for meat. Behind the station near the railroad tracks were vendors who cooked soup and noodles over small burners, and it was said that the grey chunks of meat floating in the broth were human flesh. …

People … spoke of the large number of bodies scattered around the station and on the trains. At the station, employees from the cleaning staff regularly made rounds through the public areas, loading bodies onto a wooden handcart. Some days they removed as many as thirty bodies from the station.

Fox News reports that there have been changes for the better in North Korea since the time of Kim Jong Il. (He died in 2011 and was succeeded by his son, the present dictator, Kim Jong Un, who is threatening to nuke the US.) Conditions could hardly have changed for the worse!  According to the Fox report (derived from AP), one of the changes has been an improvement in living standards for at least some of the people.

Probably more out of pragmatic necessity than anything else, Kim Jong Un has allowed capitalist-style markets and entrepreneurialism to expand, invigorating the domestic economy and creating new revenue streams for the government, which profits by either taking a cut or by directly supporting such enterprises. Changes in farming policy that let individuals personally benefit from bigger harvests have boosted agricultural output. The relatively affluent capital of Pyongyang — home to the North’s most fortunate — has seen a significant increase in everything from taxis to coffee shops and streets stalls. But the rise of the “cash masters”, an empowered middle class more open to capitalist ideals, or just more determined to acquire material wealth, could prove to be a problem for Kim down the road.

He is unlikely to let them be a problem for him. More likely he will be a problem for them. One is reminded how Stalin allowed the Russian kulaks to “boost output” – and then he destroyed them.


*Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick, Spiegel & Grau, New York, 2009

Posted under North Korea by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Tagged with , , , , , , , , ,

This post has 20 comments.

  • Jeanne

    A question if you don’t mind; whom does it benefit to allow North Korea to continue as it has? I guess that is a question I could ask about any evil nation, but North Korea seems to beg it more.

    • Do you mean why does President Trump allow the NK regime to continue? Do you think the US should use military force to change the regime?

      • Jeanne

        No, maybe, yes… I was just wondering who benefits from NK and Kim continuing to keep people in such conditions and expanding their nuclear ability and threatening behavior.

        But…I am beginning to think that the “Bloody Nose” theory may be a good idea, instead of waiting much longer for action of last resort. Is Kim truly so crazy that he would attack us or our allies and bring full force retaliation upon his country? I would like to think that he is not. I would like to think that Trump is warning Kim against such insane action through his words and behavior.

        It seems ludicrous that Kim holds such power over larger nations and while I understand the ramification of attacking NK with a smack-down, I find it bewildering what great benefit to some nation of power…China, I suppose..is worth the risk.

        I may not be making myself completely clear and for that I apologize.

        • Don L

          Given the respectively little China expends on backing NOKO, it’s a good investment given the military and other resources the USA & world has to dedicate to the NOKO issue. Resources not directed at China. China does not have to invade or bomb NOKO to kill it.

          China is a dynastic government: Family-controlled bureaus. Does the central government actually control all its extremities? Has the order to cut it off gone out and it isn’t being implemented because of ‘family’ business? Or, is it all to suck Trump into more delay?

          It is and has been China’s game and Trump is late to it. Obama and Bush et al … duh; Madeleine Albright, c’mon.

          This is bad:

          Formosa us, we can’t go back to Constantinople. rim bam!

          • Jeanne

            I appreciate your explanations, Don. Thank you. And…thanks for letting me think out loud.

            • Don L

              You think well!

        • All your points make sense.

          • Jeanne

            Ha! Maybe, but I find myself still bewildered. Thank you Jillian for this site. I have been reading for years, but have only been able to comment since I got a new computer. BTW, is there anyway I can help support this site?

            • Don L

              Yes, Send money to Don L

            • You ARE supporting it. With just the sort of intelligent comments and discussion that it thrives on. We are truly grateful to you for that. If you can bring others to the site, all the better.

    • Don L

      After WWII, The USSR backed the formation of the communist NOKO.. Years of China – USSR machinations China wound up as the primary sponsor and defender. NOKO is and has been a constant irritant, the original domino in the theory of the same name, in the side of the USA – the ‘West’. That is why NOKO exists … solely to irritate and threaten the West – USA. Indeed, China has stated they will defend NOKO if USA strikes first – Or, China is OK with NOKO w/nuke &ICBMs. The dynastic tyrannical Chinese government IS our enemy – they think long-term and our jerks’ view is of their feet. (Hopefully that last idea is under change.)

      • Jeanne

        Thanks, Don, for the reply. A domino-effect I understand, but I don’t understand why that makes the conditions in NK so beneficial to China. If China fears Kim so that they won’t insist on some change of government practices to bring NK people into civilization, why should anyone fear China? Maybe I am misunderstanding something. And, I guess further, why should China let Kim go so far into a nuclear program if such action and threats could backfire into a world war? Does China want that to occur? How does that benefit China?

        Too many questions…so sorry. I suspect it is very complicated, as these things usually are.

        • Don L

          Oy! Where to begin? Hmm, well, OH, all a guess -China doesn’t believe NOKO would ever turn on them. China need only turn off the energy spigot and conveyor belts of everything else and NOKO is gone. NOKO nuking China doesn’t fix a lack of natural resources. But, NOKO threatening everybody else makes everyone else assign and waste their resources – good ROI. And, a world that does this pretend diplomacy would only blame NOKO if China nudged it into a war – as the USSR did back in the 50s. So, no world war. I do not believe China would defend NOKO, this time. If it gets taken out, so what. America wastes its wealth and Korea becomes an American free peninsula, I bet? Which is then susceptible to a really big neighbor. China doesn’t care about it’s folks either. Economic upset only a short term consequent. Long-term they are better off. Taiwan straight ahead. Trump is the wild card they have not figured out. one hopes.

  • Don L

    Warmbier: They removed all of his teeth and then forced them back into the wrong places. The left hates Trump so much … they embrace real live, no mystical power, evil.

    • Glad you reminded us of Warmbier, Don. L

      And yes, indeed the Left is dedicated to evil.

    • liz

      Yes, pure evil. That must be what makes George Soros so ugly – embracing evil. I heard he is pouring more money into Democrats running for office. Any ideas as to how to get rid of him? I mean seriously, isn’t he breaking some kind of campaign finance law or something?

      • I guess Soros could be charged with a long list of felonies if only someone in a position to do it also had the will to do it. Same goes for Hillary and Obama, Rice, Power, Kerry …

        • liz

          We should ban him like the Hungarians did, at the very least.
          As for Hillary and Obama, let the chickens come home to roost!

  • liz

    You couldn’t find a more perfect example of what “ideologically pure” socialism, strictly followed, looks like. Starvation and death.
    At the same time, it’s so revealing of the character of those imposing it.
    Rather than admitting their ideology is a disaster, and abandoning it, they either double down on it (Like Kim Jong-il), or reluctantly allow some capitalism (like Kim Jong Un), to prop themselves up, while hypocritically refusing to admit failure, and doubling down on imprisonment and torture of dissenters.
    That our media fawns over Kim’s sister is no surprise – they are themselves the “Propaganda and Agitation Department” of the Democrat (Socialist) Party!