02/19/2021, 10.08
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Pyongyang expands its concentration camps: wave of arrests anticipated

Kim Jong-un wants to eradicate all forms of "anti-socialism". Detainees already on the rise for violations of anti-pandemic regulations. His battle against "reactionary thinking" to strengthen the regime. Covid and the floods have aggravated the economic crisis in the country, crippled by food shortages.

Seoul (AsiaNews / Agencies) - North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has ordered the expansion of the country’s concentration camps, according to on the Daily NK, citing on the ground sources.

The move would seem to anticipate a wave of arrests to eradicate all forms of "anti-socialism, non-socialism, sectarianism, bureaucracy, corruption and tax evasion".

This was announced by Kim during the recent Workers' Party congress (in power since the end of the Second World War), which was held last month.

According to available data, there are currently five labour camps for political prisoners in North Korea: four are run by the Ministry of State Security; one from the Department of Social Security. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, says Daily NK, the number of detainees in the country has grown significantly: many North Koreans have ended up in the regime's concentration camps for breaking the rules on quarantine, thus threatening the national economy.

The strengthening of prison structures, however, is explained by the recent adoption of a law to counter “reactionary thinking”, which punishes its offenders with the death penalty or forced labour.

According to analysts, Kim's new crackdown is explained by the need to promote internal unity and shore up the foundations of the regime. The coronavirus emergency and the floods of recent months have aggravated the nation's economic crisis, already marked by years of international sanctions for its nuclear program.

Seoul intelligence revealed yesterday that the North will produce around 1.3 million tons of food less this year. A figure that highlights the limits of the economic "self-sufficiency" policy contained in Kim's new five-year plan.

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