North Korea Mobilizes Citizens for Kim Jong Il Birth Celebration Amid Covid-19, Cold Temperatures — Radio Free Asia

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Citizens in North Korea are resentful at being compelled to apply singing and dancing for the annual start anniversary celebration of late former chief Kim Jong Il amid harsh winter climate and the continued coronavirus pandemic, residents of the border areas advised RFA.

The start anniversary of Kim Jong Il (1942-2011) on February 16, generally known as the Day of the Shining Star, and his father and predecessor Kim Il Sung (1912-1994), generally known as the Day of the Sun, solidify the cult of persona surrounding the Kim household and the nation’s third-generation chief, Kim Jong Un.

The two days bookend a two-month Loyalty Festival interval, the place in most years the nation places on mass video games, army demonstrations and cultural occasions that draw massive crowds.

People now being made to apply singing and dancing through the harsh blizzards of the Siberian winter say the federal government is being hypocritical for making them collect in massive teams through the pandemic, when even small gatherings are banned.

“These days every organization is busy preparing for a performance to celebrate the Day of the Shining Star. People from factories, schools, and neighborhood watch units must gather at the practice site,” a resident from North Hamgyong province within the nation’s northeast advised RFA on Jan. 28.

“It’s not easy for the people to gather at the practice sites right now because it snows a lot and the wind stings. Even though the authorities previously banned gatherings and ceremonial events because of the coronavirus, now they are forcing us to practice in the extreme cold,” stated the supply, who requested anonymity for safety causes.

In most years on the Day of the Shining Star, the individuals compete in a nationwide musical efficiency contest the place they sing the praises of Kim Jong Il. This 12 months they’ve been ordered to reward the present chief Kim Jong Un, who lately promoted himself to General Secretary of the ruling Korean Workers’ Party.

“Even though the coronavirus situation has not at all improved, they are still making us practice singing songs about the General Secretary. Some people are complaining that they don’t know why they are celebrating the Day of the Shining Star by praising Kim Jong Un [instead of Kim Jong Il,]” the supply stated.

“Even as the coronavirus crisis is making our lives even more difficult, the authorities are making us prepare for the celebration. They might be trying to raise the celebratory mood for Kim Jong Un’s ascendency to general secretary, but these are forced musical performances to showcase loyalty. Who could genuinely welcome the new general secretary from the bottom of their heart in this situation?” stated the supply.

A supply in neighboring Ryanggang province advised RFA on Jan. 27 that factories, corporations, neighborhood watch models and the ladies’s union mobilized to apply singing and dancing for Feb. 16.

“Due to the blizzard and strong winds crashing in from Mt. Baekdu, it is hard to even open our eyes. The people who have to go to the practice site every day are blaming the authorities for their misery,” stated the second supply, who requested anonymity for safety causes.

“The people who are still suffering in the aftermath of the coronavirus are made to practice so they can praise General Secretary Kim Jong Un through song and dance. Who would like that?” requested the supply.

“The residents are fiercely protesting that the authorities are ignoring the ban on gatherings, and seem to be unconcerned about the health and safety of the people who are barely holding it together amidst widespread food shortages and harsh cold weather.”

Though North Korea nonetheless claims outwardly that it has not confirmed a single case of the virus, authorities over the previous 12 months have taken intensive measures to restrict its unfold, together with cancelling main cultural occasions, quarantining whole counties and cities, and proscribing journey between provinces.

Most importantly, North Korea and China closed their border and suspended all commerce in January 2020, a transfer that has been disastrous for native North Korean economies, and import-dependent industries.

Reported by Jieun Kim for RFA’s Korean Service. Translated by Leejin Jun. Written in English by Eugene Whong.

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