North Korean website reports on self-criticism sessions following New Year's Address

Kim Seong Hwan; Bae Min Kwon, intern  |  2017-01-19 16:18
A North Korean government website has confirmed that the regime has ordered its citizens to participate in self-criticism sessions, following the example set by Kim Jong Un in his New Year's address. The announcement backs up a previous report by Daily NK that the regime is forcing residents of all ages to engage in self-criticism.

On January 16, North Korea's propaganda website Echo of Unification posted an article regarding responses to the New Years address by residents and officials in Musan County, North Hamgyong Province. Every resident in Musan County shed tears of remorse, the piece reads, adding that the vice-chairman of Musan County's People's Committee said, Being a worker (cadre), the New Year's address came as a shock to me. I could not raise my head as I read the address sentence by sentence.

"We as workers (cadres) pledged to sincerely follow the Marshals instructions, but have we really burnt ourselves out like a candle in the struggle to achieve the Party's policies? I regretfully confess that I failed to do so, the official, identified as Kim Chung Song, said.

"I had no idea that (Kim Jong Un) would blame himself in his New Year's address, rather than reproach us. I will always be alert to find new tasks and work with fervor from now on, in order to fulfill the assignments in the address," Kim added.

Lee Ok Sim, one of the flood victims in North Hamgyong Province said, "I cried and cried while watching the video of the Marshal blaming himself, even though he made us happy by providing new homes before the new year came."

Daily NK's sources reported on January 11 that the North Korean authorities have designated the month of January as a "focused period for learning the address," forcing residents to participate in lectures, debates, and self-criticism sessions. This has been further confirmed by the article published by Echo of Unification, which focuses on self-critical remarks allegedly made by residents.

Given that the regime is forcing residents to make self-criticisms due to the remorseful remarks in Kim Jong Un's New Year's address, it is suspected that the regime is trying to deflect complaints. The regime seems to be trying to suppress any mention of the 'Suryong's responsibility,' as there has been growing negative sentiment toward the regime.

"It is significant that Echo of Unification posted the remarks of officials in none other than Musan County, one of the flood-hit regions. The flood damage would not have been so severe if the officials in Musan County had prepared preventive measures in advance. It seems that the regime is trying to make it look like the officials are responsible for the flood damage rather than Kim Jong Un, one senior North Korean defector told Daily NK.

"Although Kim Jong Un highlighted his lack of ability in the New Year's address, he has revealed his true intention (through these measures) to transfer the responsibility of economic failure to the population. In addition, the regime is trying to block people's complaints toward the Supreme leader by forcing the residents to blame themselves for North Korea's situation," the defector concluded.

*Translated by Yejie Kim
*Edited by Lee Farrand

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