North tells its people to donate cash to state

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North tells its people to donate cash to state

In order to reach its oft-stated goal of becoming a “strong and prosperous” country by 2012, North Korea’s powerful Workers’ Party is now resorting to shaking down money from its poorest resource - its people.

According to a source in Seoul well informed on North Korea, the party’s bureau responsible for propaganda has been holding lectures in areas nationwide telling residents to make cash donations to the government.

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“A strong and prosperous country should be made on our own and must come sooner,” is the main message of the lectures, the source said. At the end of the lectures, cash is usually demanded from the audience, he said. The lecturers describe how people in other areas had donated generously to whip up a competitive spirit.

Last November’s attack on Yeonpyeong Island has also been used to encourage greater donations, the source said.

Lecturers told residents in North Hwanghae Province, for example, that people in another area had given money after being “deeply moved” by the military’s attack on the South Korean island, which killed two soldiers and two civilians.

“Ten thousand won is good, one million won is also good - contribute of your own accord,” the source quoted the lecturers as saying. In Chongjin, those being encouraged to give money were not asked where the money came from.

The source said that there had been prior instances when the North Korean government had collected money for specific projects, such as building power plants or constructing more houses in Pyongyang. However, the source said, this appeared to be a new form of collecting money through lectures given across the nation.

On top of cash, the ultimate sacrifice is also accepted - and encouraged - by the nation’s leaders.

The Rodong Sinmun, the Workers’ Party’s mouthpiece, reported on Aug. 20 that North Korean leader Kim Jong-il had ordered the entire nation to follow the example of Ri Song-jin, a man who died while saving a cow during floods this past summer.

“The more people there are who try to take from the country rather than give,” the paper wrote, “the nation grows weak and the fatherland will never be able to walk the path of prosperity.”

The Rodong Sinmun and other media have been praising a new play that portrays a young girl who starves to death for her country. Kim Jong-il and his youngest son and heir apparent Jong-un were described as seeing and praising a performance.


By Christine Kim [christine.kim@joongang.co.kr]


한글 관련 기사 [중앙일보]

북 “강성대국 헌금 내라”

군중연설 뒤 주민에게 강요
“성금 출처는 묻지 않겠다”

북한 당국이 이른바 강성대국 건설을 내세워 주민들에게 헌금을 강요하고 있는 것으로 파악됐다. 15일 대북 소식통에 따르면 북한은 노동당 선전선동부 주도로 시장이나 도심 등 군중이 모이는 곳에서 ‘강성대국은 우리가 마련하고 앞당겨야 한다’는 취지의 공개강연회를 연 뒤 건설자금 명목의 헌금을 내도록 요구하고 있다. 북한은 김일성 출생 100주년이 되는 내년을 ‘강성대국의 문을 여는 해’로 삼고 있다.

 소식통은 “북한이 재정난으로 평양시 살림집 10만 호 건설과 자강도 희천발전소 공사 자금을 주민들에게 부과해온 것으로 안다”며 “강연을 개최한 뒤 모금을 강요하는 건 새로운 형태의 강제수탈”이라고 말했다. 강연회에서는 다른 지역 주민들의 납부사례를 선전하는 사례도 나타난다고 한다. 황해북도에서는 지난해 11월 벌어진 북한군의 연평도 포사격을 거론해 “우리 군(軍)이 포사격으로 적들의 섬을 날려버린 데 감격한 주민들이 강성대국 성금을 납부했다”며 선동하는 경우도 있었다. 또 함북 청진에서는 “헌금하는 사람은 어떻게 돈을 벌었는지 묻지 않겠다”고 강조한 사실도 전해졌다.

 이 밖에 노동신문 8월 20일자는 수해 때 소를 구하고 숨진 한 관리인을 본받으라는 김정일의 지시를 전하며 “국가에 바치려는 사람보다 받으려는 사람이 많을수록 나라가 허약해진다”고 강조했다.

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