North Korea Sees Demonstration February 18 Near China Border

Posted on February 26, 2011


A news blackout has prevented news of an anti-government demonstration in North Korea.  It happened on 18 February but communications being under strict control  by the Communist regime of Kim Jong-Il, word only reached the west on the 25th of February.  The underlying cause is understood to be life in the dictatorship of Jong-Il and the chronic scarcity of food.- the cause of so many demonstrations recently in the Middle East and elsewhere.

It began with a protest in a local market in border town of Sinuiju but when authorities put it down violently, at least 2 people were left dead and others wounded. Few believe protests will spread due to strict control of the people and the media.

Korean personalities contacted yesterday by AsiaNews explain that “the nation’s worsening economic conditions” are all too evident, which combines “the change at the top, with the succession to Pyongyang’s ‘throne’ in Kim Jong-un.” The younger Kim is “feared by the population, which considers him a bloody mad man” and that is why “the North Koreans are ready to do anything to stop the succession.”

However, it is difficult for them to organise themselves into massive street protests, as is happening in North Africa or in some Arab countries. The North Korean regime keeps a tight control on information from the outside, while internet and mobile phones remain the preserve of a privileged few, one or two percent of the population. [Asia News]

Meanwhile in South Korea, soldiers have created light baskets of food that are accompanied by a leaflet telling of the demonstrations in the Middle East and encouraging the same actions in the north.  The baskets are carried over the border by balloons. [Reuters]

Most analysts do not see the Kim Jong-Il regime being brought down in a similar way as those in the Middle East.

“Compared to some of these Arab societies, they have done a much more effective job in maintaining control over the public,” said Cho Min of the Korea Institute for National Unification.

“You’re never going to be able to predict a collapse until the day it happens, but even then, this is a much more perfectly closed society with control over information and travel.”

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