[Photo] Cadres' attire at mobilization draws ire of ordinary North Koreans

Kang Mi Jin  |  2018-04-11 17:44
Central government officials in North Korea were recently depicted in state media participating in tree-planting mobilizations as part of Kim Jong Un's "reforestation plan." But while this sort of propaganda is commonplace in North Korea, it has been reported that ordinary residents were quick to notice a staging mistake that inspired a new round of criticisms.

"Cadres and central Party officials participated in a 'Friday work' assignment as [state news outlets] Rodong Sinmun and KCTV joined to capture the event," a source in the capital Pyongyang told Daily NK on April 3. "But people both working on the site and those who saw the footage later were puzzled when they saw that the cadres were still wearing dress shoes and office attire."

"There were some young students alongside the high-ranking officials, but in contrast with the officials' dress shoes, the students were wearing more appropriate footwear. Some people to remarked that 'it looks like the students are the only ones working,'" he added. 

According to the source, many residents are calling the scene a sham, saying, The same people who have relentlessly emphasized the need to eliminate formalism appear to be its biggest proponents.

In addition to appearing on television, the event was featured heavily in the March 2 edition of the Rodong Sinmun, including images of cadres, students, and workers carrying out the assignments in various locations across the country. In long-winded praise, one article boasted that "ten million citizens have erupted in patriotic fervor to bring about a new change and take part in the reforestation battle as part of the Party's ambitious construction of the nation, in honor of the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the Republic."

However, a separate source in Pyongyang explained that ordinary people were not convinced by the scenes, which they "naturally perceived to be phony propaganda images of cadres simply pretending to work."

The news coverage was part of the state's promotion of Arbor Day, which is now officially celebrated in North Korea on March 2. The tree-planting assignments were instructed to be carried out every Friday following the holiday, with special attention to the arboretums near Moranbong and Kumsusan Palace in Pyongyang. 

"The authorities used the cadres to try to show that it should be no problem to plant trees in Pyongyang, where the snow melts early," the second source said. "But the cadres do not participate when the cameras or superiors arent there to observe them, which is obviously infuriating to ordinary people out there breaking their backs.

*Translated by Colin Zwirko

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