North Koreans Cynical of Kim Jong Un-praising Propaganda Lectures


2018-12-19
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kim-trump.jpg US President Donald Trump (R) shakes hands with North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un (L) at the start of their historic US-North Korea summit, at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore, June 12, 2018.
AFP

The North Korean government is holding special propaganda lecture sessions that praise Kim Jong Un, but the North Korean public is extremely cynical about the latest effort to venerate their leader.

A source from Pyongyang told RFA’s Korean Service on Saturday that the lectures, with titles like “Praise the great man, Kim Jong Un” are being held every day, with lecture materials provided by the Central Committee.

“They have propagandized the North Korea-U.S. and Inter-Korean summits, saying they were possible only through Kim Jong Un’s diplomatic prowess and keen decision making,” the source said.

The lectures also proclaimed that these were “critical meetings that will affect the future of the entire Asia-Pacific region,” the source added.

“The lecture materials also say that most foreign media outlets have delivered special coverage praising [Kim, calling him a] great man with grand historical achievements that will [define] the 21st century,” the source said.

“Each city government began holding the lectures as soon as the materials were distributed, but people here in Pyongyang are not buying it, calling it unfounded propaganda,” the source added.

“News from outside North Korea spreads faster in Pyongyang than out in the provinces because there are many trade workers and others who work overseas,” the source explained. “This is why people here are well aware that we are under international sanctions.”

“The propaganda depicts Kim Jong Un as ‘everyone’s hero’ but they just laugh,” said the source.

Another source, from North Hamgyong province said on Monday, “Educational materials that espouse the greatness of our respected leader have been provided to everyone in the province.”

“In the two-page leaflet, the Central Committee clearly praises Kim Jong Un’s way of globalization as a nuclear power,” the source said.

“It praises Kim as a man of action, quotes the Philippine president as saying Kim is everyone’s hero, and claims that the Supreme Leader is becoming a global sensation,” said the source.

“[The Committee] says that the world thinks Kim’s strategy of globalization is going smoothly. They even say he’s a step ahead of [U.S. President] Trump and [South Korean President] Moon Jae-In!” the source said.

“But people attending the conference had only cold and bleak responses,” the source added.

Expert Weighs In

Bruce Klingner, a Senior Research Fellow with the Washington-based Heritage Foundation said Wednesday that the propaganda “predictably praises Kim Jong-un and places great emphasis on claiming that foreign nations mimic this adulation.”

“Pyongyang’s depiction that the positive diplomatic developments of 2018 were the result of Kim’s ‘diplomatic power and decision’ is also typical and, in a way, mimics President Trump’s own claims for being solely responsible for the world stepping back from the brink of war,”  Klingner added.

“More interesting is that the propaganda seems to be falling on deaf ears amongst the North Korean populace and internal sources were comfortable enough to describe cynicism of the regime’s statements,” said Klingner.

“There are numerous indicators that more outside information is getting into North Korea and presumably this is impacting North Koreans’ views against Kim and his regime,” he said.

Reported for RFA’s Korean Service by Jieun Kim and Hee Jung Yang. Translated by Leejin Jun. Written in English by Eugene Whong.

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