Pyongyang authorities to expel defector families from the city

Kang Mi Jin, Kim Chae Hwan  |  2018-01-02 15:43
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According to sources in the capital, the North Korean authorities are preparing to conduct a large-scale expulsion of families from the capital. The police have compiled a list of citizens who have gone missing after being dispatched to overseas work assignments and study programs, and are now locating the family members of these individuals for expulsion. 
"This spring, the authorities will enforce expulsions relating to missing workers and students abroad. They carried out further investigations of Pyongyang residents earlier this month, and the MPS have handed down orders regarding the rounding up of families," a source in Pyongyang told Daily NK on December 28. 
The authorities are allegedly focusing on three categories of residents in Pyongyang: those expressing discontent with the current system, those who are in contact with family in China, and those who have reported a family member missing while knowing that the individual had gone to South Korea.

"If the authorities link an individual to any one of these three situations, their entire family will be forcibly expelled to the countryside," she said.
Some Pyongyangites are speculating that the move is intended to reduce the population of the city, as police have directly told some residents over the course of their investigations that "the coming policy will expel anywhere from 30,000 to 50,000 people."
The move may be seen as part of broader efforts by Kim Jong Un to rid the "revolutionary capital" Pyongyang of all who oppose him or who are connected to 'traitor' defectors, depriving them of the electricity and distribution rations enjoyed to a relatively greater extent in the capital city. 
It can also be seen as a part of the regimes fear tactics -- a prominent event intended to remind citizens of the consequences in store for those who oppose the leader. 
The source added that government agents carrying out the policy have been overheard making comments like, "Residents of Pyongyang will regret their actions once they find themselves left in the countryside," and, "They must feel the regret of betraying their country."
The move also exposes the regime's own fears over growing public opposition to the system.

"The regime is afraid that defectors living on the outside will send information back to their family inside the country, which may influence their thinking and spread to others. So agents will keep watch over those connected to families evicted from the city, to make sure none of this outside information is spreading," an additional source in Pyongyang explained.
The strategy appears to be having some effect, he said, noting that residents of Pyongyang are fearful of the latest government actions. "The new policy is reminiscent of the forcible population reduction carried out in anticipation of the 13th UN World Festival of Youth and Students in Pyongyang in 1989. People are quietly hoping that they do not become the victims of policy this time," he said. 
Residents in the city are commenting amongst themselves that the policy is a sure sign of trouble within central party government organizations. Many believe that the move is also designed to preempt any major public instability by striking fear into those who are considering opposing the regime. 

*Translated by Colin Zwirko

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