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Author Topic: North Koreans Ordered to Destroy Photos of Missing Relatives.  (Read 2936 times)

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April 24, 2010, 10:06:56 PM
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Offline Peter

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I shouldn't be surprised or shocked by anything concerning North Korea, but reading about North Koreans being ordered to destroy photos of missing relatives did just that.
A chilling reminder of what cults could do if they ruled a country:

Defectors-Turned-Freedom Fighters Irk N. Korea

The Korea Times.
April 23, 2010.

    A radio broadcaster run by North Korean defectors here reported this week that security guards in Hoeryeong, North Hamgyeong Province, directed its residents to turn in photos of their family members who have been missing from 2005.

    If the families say that these photos have been lost, security guards pay an unannounced visit to their homes to find out whether they are lying to them or not.

    The communist state's sudden interest in the missing family members came after North Korean defectors, who were reported to the authorities as being missing, are here fighting hard to bring democracy in the reclusive nation.

    The move indicates that the North is making efforts to root out potential defectors-turned-democracy fighters with fear tactics.

    Radio Free North Korea (RFNK) also reported Wednesday that the authorities had stepped up efforts to find cell phone users. Using cell phones in the North is illegal.

    Some North Koreans, however, use mobile phones to provide information on what's going on inside the secretive nation to affiliated media outlets based in Seoul.

    They receive money in return for the high-risk job.

    ``It is natural that the campaign to bring democracy to the North is considered a malicious plot to overthrow the communist regime there,'' Kim Seong-min, a representative of RFNK, told The Korea Times.

    Kim, a North Korean defector, has represented the broadcast unit since 2004 when the radio first transmitted stories on affluent South Korea and the freedom citizens here enjoy to the residents of North Korea.

    It sent stories for an hour per day at the beginning, and now broadcasts for five hours.

    ``When our radio first transmitted news back in 2004, the North issued several statements severely criticizing our activities and even used blackmail threatening to blow up our radio station,'' said Kim.

    ``But it was after the failed currency reevaluation that the North threatened defectors-turned-democracy fighters as these activists kept the South and the international community updated on the consequences of the reform in detail."

    Kim noted that the North's shift from hostile rhetoric to action against defectors was a major development in the wake of the failed reform.

    The radio program also updated stories about North Korea based on what they learned over the phone from secret correspondents based there.

    Several media outlets run by North Korean defectors, including Daily NK and North Korea Intellectuals Solidarity, also have secret correspondents in the North.

    Survivors of North Korean prison camps joined in the democracy building project several years ago.

    A Seoul-based group, dubbed Democracy Network Against North Korean Gulags, has launched an awareness building campaign to expose the appalling human rights conditions in the six North Korean gulags through national and international seminars and forums.

    Those informative stories helped local researchers have a deeper understanding of what's going on inside the hermetic kingdom, particularly after the failed currency reform last November.

    But the defectors-turned-democracy fighters irritate the North.

    North Korea began to take retaliatory action against those defectors earlier this year.

    One of the RFNK correspondents based in Dandong, the border city between China and North Korea, who was identified only as his surname Lee, was kidnapped by the North's security guards in February.

    The RFNK said Lee fell into a trap. The North Korean defector was caught by the authorities on a day when he was scheduled to reunite with his wife and son living in the North.

    The incident came after a North Korean, who had provided stories of what happened in the North to a Seoul-based non-profit group over the phone, was executed in February.