This comes after defectors have been caught sending anti-North Korean propaganda across the border. North Korea has recently referred to defectors as “human trash” and has conducted large-scale public campaigns to criticise them. According to Daily NK, the North Korean government is planning to console families and ensure they don’t turn their back on the regime, amid fears they may follow their relative defectors.
“Comrade Kim Yo Jong issued an order to party committees in each province and party committees in the country’s special cities on the morning of June 10,” a source told Daily NK.
“The directive instructed party and judiciary officials to seek out and offer encouragement to family members of defectors who have remained loyal, have no marks against them, and have diligently fulfilled their duties.”
Kim has already stated that anybody who defects to South Korea and betrays the North brings shame on their country and families.
However, she insists that “we” should not let immediate family members or relatives suffer or become marginalised due to a small number of individuals.
This decision has given further direction to party and judicial officials “to take the lead in embracing and guiding these individuals to lead lives of even more political stability.”
Her order further noted that although “they are the families of defectors, as long as they remain loyal to the party then we must be bold enough to seek to include them and bring them firmly within the embrace of the party to make the foundations of our socialism even stronger.”
The families of defectors have been sought out by the state and for those that are remaining loyal, they are being offered “material and political encouragement.”
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The order further noted that “all-embracing politics, virtue politics and the politics of trust are ideological principles created by the Great Leader, Kim Il Sung, that the party has carried forward. Making an entire family pay a harsh price for crimes of an individual does not align with the party’s ideology of putting the people first. Accordingly, we should encourage them to live their lives proudly.”
This directive has been put in place amid fears that the families of defectors may be intimidated and feel alienated from the mass protests, which are supposed to take place over the propaganda leaflets.
The reason for Kim’s caution is to ensure that the families don’t then turn their back on the country, which in the long run could harm the country’s idea of “complete solidarity.”
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According to Daily NK’s source, Kim ordered reports on the results of these efforts to console the families of defectors to be sent through internal channels within provincial party organisation departments.
This suggests that the efforts are to be kept secret from the general public as much as possible.
After receiving the order from Kim, state officials started working on a list of households that needed to be visited.
“Party officials at the municipal and county level along with judiciary officials are to visit the families of defectors along with local inminban [North Korea’s lowest administrative unit] leaders,” the source said.
“A range of small items to provide as gifts during the meetings have been prepared in consultation with local people’s committees and food factories. It has been decided that families of defectors in Hoeryong, North Hamgyong Province – where many such families live – will receive a bottle of alcohol, 500 grams of pork, 500 grams of snacks and a bag of candy,” he added.