Graffiti criticizing Party Congress surfaces in Hyesan

Kang Mi Jin  |  2016-04-14 14:59
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Graffiti criticizing the upcoming 7th Party Congress has surfaced in Hyesan, Ryanggang Province, prompting officials within the State Security Department to launch an investigation into who was behind the act, Daily NK has learned.

On Sunday, SSD personnel suddenly showed up at inminban (peoples unit), state-run factories, and schools, demanding everyone present to submit handwritten samples containing a few song phrases and lines from a poem, a source from Ryanggang Province told Daily NK on Tuesday.

People were really taken aback by the sudden request but it soon made sense when the graffiti connection was made. Most have kept quiet on the issue, well aware of the severe consequences that would unfurl if they were to be accused of talking about political issues and put in the wrong light."

Additional sources in Ryanggang Province corroborated this news.

While collecting the handwriting samples, the SSD officials emphasized the case has been classified as espionage. Especially given the fact that the Party Congress has not been held for 36 years and is occurring for the first time under the orders of Kim Jong Un, any criticism of it can be seen as an act of subversion.

What is notable is the degree of concern security officials are showing with regards to the possibility of rumors spreading. Similar incidents in the past have typically led to public lectures on stepping up revolutionary awareness in the face of anti-Party, anti-revolutionary agitators, but none have yet taken place.

The tight security has prompted quiet gossip on what exactly the graffiti said and where it was found, leading many to believe that the nature of the incident must be out of the ordinary, and fueling more speculation that the writings must have directly attacked the regime or the "highest dignity" (Kim Jong Un) himself, claimed the source. 

*Translated by Jiyeon Lee
*Edited by Lee Farrand

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