North Koreans Are Not All of the Same Mind, Says Defector

Unlike the Borg, there is no consensus and, unlike North American universities, there are no “safe spaces” where North Koreans are free from the “triggering” of the Kim dynasty “privilege”:

A former North Korean political prisoner has revealed what he sees as the “biggest misconception” about people in his country.

Kang Chol-hwan, who was a prisoner at Yodok concentration camp, said the “outside world” often equates the Communist Party regime with the private mindsets of its citizens.

Yet many people are simply too afraid to speak out, while others hide former identities to avoid persecution, he said.

Mr Chol-hwan, now the director of the North Korea Strategy Centre in Seoul in South Korea, said in a question thread for Reddit that North Koreans were “the same as [people] anywhere else.”

“I think it is lamentable that people think of the North Korean government and North Koreans as one entity,” he said.

“North Koreans may seem loyal to the government, but because they fear the government, they cannot speak their minds.”


The cult-of-personality is a communist ploy, glamourising otherwise mediocre crackpots before it was cool to wonder what Trudeau’s wife was wearing:

Jean H. Lee of the Associated Press gushes that Ri is “a beautiful young woman … [d]ressed in a chic suit with a modern cut, her hair stylishly cropped.”  The NYT’s Choe Sang Hun sees “all the trappings of a Kate Middleton moment,”

and ABC’s Joohee Cho serves up this ipecac smoothie:

The cheerleaders wore Nike caps, danced with South Korean college students, and attended a dinner party with government officials. There’s speculation that she also might have participated in an inter-Korean teenagers’ event in 2003 to plant trees.

But what has attracted the most attention in Seoul today is her beauty and sense of fashion. She wore colorful green, burgundy, and yellow outfits, polka dot patterns, open-toe pumps, and even a chic brooch on one of her dresses. North Korean women usually wear their traditional costume, or monotone black or grey suits to public events.

“I was surprised because she was so up-to-date in fashion. My friends think she’s very pretty too,” said Hyun-Sun Kim, 22, a nurse.

“I think Ri Sol Ju possesses a classic traditional Korean beauty, a round face and clean skin,” said Edward Han, 52, a South Korean businessman. “And she’s got that image of an obedient wife which sure would be popular among the elders especially.” [ABCNews, Joohee Cho]

Cho didn’t mention the reports that a number of Ri’s fellow cheerleaders were sent to the gulag for talking too much about the prosperity they saw in the South. 


North Korea also isn’t alone in giving lip service to the problems, environmental and otherwise, that it creates:

… the cycle of problems is well known: people essentially cut down trees as a form of coping behavior in the face of resource scarcity, in order to clear areas for farmland, and to use wood as an energy source. When the annual torrential rains sweep over the Korean peninsula, the lack of trees contributes to soil erosion, spoiling harvests and causing devastation. Kim Jong-un highlighted forestry as an important policy area in 2015. The priority makes a lot of sense, but so far, the solutions don’t seem all that promising.