Thursday May 23, 2019
Home Business Unpaid Farm W...

Unpaid Farm Work: Wealthy People in North Korea Bribe their Way Out of Mandatory Farming Mobilization

0
//
Farming Mobilization
Mandatory Farming Mobilization: North Korean farm workers tend to a field on the outskirts of the capital Pyongyang, July 12, 2016. RFA
  • North Korea’s annual campaign to mobilize its population to do unpaid farm work has prompted wealthy citizens to bribe doctors
  • Authorities of the regime of leader Kim Jong Un require that male and female citizens mobilize to provide additional farming manpower
  • Rich citizens might be obtaining false medical papers to skip the mass mobilization
North Korea, June 6, 2017: North Korea’s annual campaign to mobilize its population to do unpaid farm work has prompted wealthy citizens to bribe doctors to issue false medical evaluations that exempt them from the compulsory labor, sources inside the country said.

Authorities of the regime of leader Kim Jong Un require that male and female citizens mobilize to provide additional farming manpower during the spring planting season and in early summer when rice is grown.

In response, wealthy North Koreans have been paying bribes to doctors at hospitals to issue phony diagnoses of medical conditions that will get them out of performing hard manual labor in the fields, sources said.

NewsGram brings to you current foreign news from all over the world.

An incident involving a drunken, wealthy North Korean who was returning to the capital Pyongyang by train during the mobilization period after visiting relatives in China, tipped off authorities that rich citizens might be obtaining false medical papers to skip the mass mobilization, said a source in North Hamgyong province which borders China.

The authorities arrested the man, who is said to be a merchant, when he displayed violent behavior. They discovered that he had a valid travel document which usually cannot be obtained during mass mobilizations, said the source who declined to give his name.

“Only rich people can get it by paying a bribe to officials,” he said.

The man also had been diagnosed as a spinal stenosis patient in need of long-term treatment for the condition in which the spinal canal narrows causing back pain and other nerve-related problems, he said.

“[Yet], he got drunk and got violent,” the source said.

“[The man] is known to be exempt from the farming mobilization by bribing doctors for a fake diagnosis,” he said.

NewsGram brings to you top news around the world today.

The authorities who arrested the train passenger alerted the Central Committee, the leadership body of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea, which then ordered inspections of the People’s Hospitals, the source said.

The People’s Hospital in the Chongam district of Chongjin, capital of North Hamgyong province and the country’s third-largest city, is being inspected by professionals from the city’s Science and Education Department, who believe that doctors have been issuing false diagnoses in return for bribes so wealthy North Koreans have a legitimate excuse to get out of the mandatory farming mobilization, he said.

‘Powerless people suffer’

A source in North Pyongan province said that ordinary people who cannot afford to pay bribes and must provide the forced labor resent that wealthy and powerful people are getting medical exemptions.

Check out NewsGram for latest international news updates.

“Powerless people are suffering physically from farming, while some rich people are lounging around,” said the source who requested anonymity.

The amount needed to bribe a doctor to issue a false medical diagnosis valid for a month is about 200 Chinese yuan (U.S. $30), he said.

“Very wealthy North Koreans pay more to obtain a diagnosis that is valid for several months to a few years and become ‘long-term patients,’” the source said.

Though inspectors conduct probes of People’s Hospitals for false diagnoses every year, it has become a mere formality, the source said.

“If the false diagnostic statements are discovered, doctors can easily get away with it by bribing inspectors, so it is only the powerless people who are forced to participate in what is essentially slave labor during farming season.”

Other North Koreans are responding to the drive with satire.

“North Korean residents are taunting the Central Committee’s propaganda about farming mobilization that requires the participation of every individual if they have the energy to hold a spoon,” said the source in North Hamgyong province.

“They are ridiculing the propaganda by raising the possibility of avoiding the farming mobilization if they use chopsticks instead of spoons,” he said.

Mandatory mass mobilization campaigns, or “battles” as the regime likes to call them, are routine in North Korea, where the authorities use them to mobilize manpower for various projects and measure citizens’ loyalty to the state and Korean Workers’ Party.

Earlier this year, North Korean authorities imposed limits on the operating hours of local markets nationwide to encourage residents to go the fields and collect manure to use as fertilizer in light of a shortage of chemical fertilizer.

The move caused great discontent among locals, many of whom shop for food and other necessities during the day. (RFA)

Next Story

North Korea Slams Joe Biden as “Imbecile” and “Fool of Low IQ”

North Korean media often lash out at world leaders who criticize members of the ruling Kim family

0
joe biden, IQ
Former Vice President and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden speaks during a rally, May 1, 2019, in Des Moines, Iowa. VOA

North Korean state media slammed Joe Biden as an “imbecile” and a “fool of low IQ” Wednesday, Pyongyang’s first substantial comments on the 2020 U.S. presidential election. The commentary in the state-run Korean Central News Agency criticized Biden for recently referring to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as a thug and a tyrant.

“[Biden] reeled off rhetoric slandering the supreme leadership of the DPRK,” KCNA said, using the acronym for North Korea’s official name. “What he uttered is just sophism of an imbecile bereft of elementary quality as a human being, let alone a politician.”

The statement does not represent a formal endorsement of Trump; North Korean media often lash out at world leaders who criticize members of the ruling Kim family. “What is interesting this time is that the North Koreans may be attacking who they figure is Trump’s main domestic rival to curry favor with the president,” said Leif-Eric Easley, a professor at Ewha University in Seoul.

Polls indicate Biden leading his Democratic rivals, as well as Trump, in the 2020 race. The former vice president often criticizes Trump’s diplomatic outreach to authoritarian leaders. He recently slammed Kim as a thug.

“He’s the same guy (who had) his uncle’s brains blown out sitting across a desk,” Biden said earlier this month, referring to Kim’s 2013 execution of his uncle and mentor, Jang Song-thaek. The un-bylined KCNA editorial did not mention Trump. But it did appear to give a nod to Trump’s newly rolled out nickname for Biden: “Sleepy Joe.”

joe biden, IQ
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden arrives for a campaign rally at Eakins Oval in Philadelphia, May 18, 2019. VOA

​”In April 2011 when the then President [Barack] Obama was in the middle of making a speech, [Biden] was fast asleep in the auditorium,” the commentary said, adding Biden became a “laughing-stock of the media.”

Trump, who is 72 years old, has attempted to portray Biden, who is 76, as not having enough energy to become president. KCNA also hit at Biden’s reputation for making verbal gaffes. “Yet, he is self-praising himself as being the most popular presidential candidate,” the editorial said. “This is enough to make a cat laugh.”

It isn’t the first time North Korean media have weighed in during a Trump presidential run. In 2016, an editorial in the DPRK Today, a China-based North Korean mouthpiece, called Trump “wise” and “far-sighted,” while slamming his opponent Hillary Clinton as “dull.”

Even though North Korea has recently taken a more aggressive stance toward the United States, state media have been careful not to criticize Trump. One North Korean official said Kim’s relationship with Trump remains “mysteriously wonderful,” even though nuclear talks have broken down.

Instead, North Korean state media have slammed other U.S. officials such as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton.

joe biden, IQ
North Korean state media slammed Joe Biden as an “imbecile” and a “fool of low IQ” Wednesday, Pyongyang’s first substantial comments on the 2020 U.S. presidential election. Wikimedia Commons

“Whether the person is Democrat or Republican, North Korean media will always react against someone who insults their leader,” said Yang Moo-jin, a professor at Seoul’s University of North Korean Studies. “And unless Trump calls Kim a dictator or says something harsh, North Korea will not directly criticize the president.”

Soo Kim, a North Korea watcher and former CIA analyst, agrees that Pyongyang doesn’t typically endorse U.S. presidential candidates. But Pyongyang clearly wants Trump to remain in office so that negotiations can continue, she said.

ALSO READ: China Damages Ozone Layer Using Globally Banned Chemical, Say Scientists

Nuclear talks broke down following a Trump-Kim summit in February in Hanoi, Vietnam. The two leaders were unable to agree on how to match the pace of sanctions relief with steps to dismantle North Korea’s nuclear program.

Kim has said he will give the United States until the end of the year to change its approach, and has begun testing ballistic missiles for the first time in a year and a half. Trump has shrugged off Kim’s deadline and the missile launches, saying he is in no hurry for a deal. (VOA)