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After years of regime propaganda, North Koreans have started discovering just how poor they are in comparison to their cousins in the South. The London Telegraph reports that refugees now understand their economic position in the world before they flee Kim Jong-Il and his worker's paradise:
Many North Koreans are now aware of the poverty of their country and are voicing discontent after years of near-starvation, according to the fullest study yet conducted of refugees from the Stalinist dictatorship.
While the popular image of North Koreans is of a nation living in blissful ignorance of the outside world and unquestioning loyalty to the leadership of Kim Jong-il, refugees interviewed while in hiding in China reported that there were increasing signs of dissent.
Eighty per cent of those questioned said North Koreans no longer believed official propaganda that living standards were better than in capitalist South Korea. In reality, income per head is 20 to 30 times higher in the South.
Kim and his father have managed to keep the North benighted enough to believe that they lived as well as anyone else. That happened for a couple of reasons: the regime controlled all the methods of communication, and the Chinese lived at about the same subsistence level as the North Koreans. Both have changed over the past few years. The Chinese have embraced Western economies and has raised its standard of living considerably as a result, which the North Koreans have gone backwards. Meanwhile, revolutions in communication have allowed the reality of their poverty to finally seep into the national consciousness.
The Chinese revealed that Kim weathered three coup attempts over the last fifteen years, apparently with the help of Beijing, after Kim tested his nuclear weapon this fall. The unrest that has begun may herald another coup attempt, one that China may have little interest in stopping. In fact, the Chinese may want to assist in pulling down the Kim regime if it keeps a flood of refugees from swamping out the Chinese north of the peninsula. That flood may begin soon, if the starving victims of Pyongyang decide to act on their desperation.
And their desperation will only get worse. Thanks to the nuclear test, Kim will get less aid to get him through this winter. Less aid means less food for the people, which means even more unrest and anger towards Dear Leader. This will quickly develop into a vicious cycle, one that Pyongyang will not easily control, let alone reverse.
Kim's days are numbered. Either his army will get him out of the way, or the Chinese will arrange a long vacation at a Pacific Rim resort to save his life. Once the blinders come off of millions of impoverished and starving North Koreans, the outcome will not be in doubt.Sphere It View blog reactions
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Cat's Out Of The Bag In North KoreaEd Morrissey After years of regime propaganda, North Koreans have started discovering just how poor they are in comparison to their cousins in the South. The London Telegraph reports that refugees now understand [Read More]
Tracked on December 11, 2006 11:39 AM
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