02/09/2012, 00.00
NORTH KOREA
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Party openly threatens to shoot those who escape

The regime in Pyongyang rarely refers to the death penalty, but the death of Kim Jong-il and the transition of power appear to be pushing many North Koreans to leave the country. The official document, which has been read out to civilians, tells would-be escapees what awaits them: summary punishment on the spot.
Seoul (AsiaNews) – The death penalty is the right answer for those who betray the people of North Korea and the Socialist revolution. For the first time since the founding of Kim Il-sung’s regime, an official document by the Chosun (Korean) Workers’ Party asserts this principle to remind North Koreans what awaits them should they think about fleeing. This comes at a time when the rise of Kim Jong-un, third son and heir to the ‘dear leader’, appears to be pushing many North Koreans to leave the country, the DailyNK reported.

“Some time ago, a group of traitors who had planned to cross the Tumen River and betray the socialist fatherland were caught by the sharp eyes of a border guard unit and apprehended,” the online publication said, citing the document.

“They were fooled into attempting defection by their son, who had already betrayed the fatherland and become an informant for the South Chosun [Korea] puppets. But our soldiers would not be swayed by any of their honeyed words, and punished the man there and then before arresting the rest on the spot.”

Entitled ‘Strengthen the Border Zone and Raise Consciousness Levels to Enhance the Dignity of Our Socialism’, the document was released by the Chosun [Korean] Workers’ Party Publishing House in January, and has been used in lectures to civilians.

The word “punish” used in it carries a very strong implication. Whilst not explicit, the wording would seem to imply that the individual was probably summarily executed. Such events are rarely confirmed in the media, much less in official party documents.

As is consistently the case in North Korea, the document appears to be based on the late Kim Jong-il’s supposed “last instructions”, whereby “The thorough sealing of the border is one of the responsible and important tasks in the realization of the General’s last instructions.”

“The high political consciousness of the border people is not an operational issue; it is the weightiest and most honourable task in protecting our socialism and defending the heads of the revolution with our very lives from their foul schemes,” it said.
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