So says the Daily NK of recent events in the northeastern city of Chongjin, a frequent venue for reports of anti-government sentiment:
A source in North Hamgyung Province told Daily NK on January 19, “During the mourning period, one official from the provincial NSA, one from the prosecutor’s office and two from the People’s Safety Agency were murdered in Cheongjin. The source added, “There was a note found lying next to the body of the executed NSA official which said “˜Punished in the name of the people.'”
North Korean authorities have not released the identities of the victims or any information about the case fearing public disturbances, but authorities are said to be using all resources at their disposal to find the people responsible. The Defense Security Command is helping the other three agencies with the investigation, while a report on the murders has been elevated to the Central Party in Pyongyang.
In December 2010, also in Cheongjin, the retired head of the PSA office in the Sunam district died after being attacked on the street by an unknown assailant. This however is the first time that active serving officers have been slain. The likelihood seems to be that the murders were planned by somebody with a political motive rather than a personal grudge.
The source revealed that bureaucrats in North Hamgyung Province are shocked by the incident. “On the outside they’re furious, saying they’re going to track down the person responsible and torture them, but at the same time they don’t seem to know what to do.
“The fact that privileged officials were killed right under the government’s noses, and while there were special patrols in place for the mourning period, means that the lower down the hierarchy you look bureaucrats are more anxious,” the source said.
The reaction from citizens who are aware of the incident is mostly positive, with some saying “˜they deserved it’, although such encouragement is tempered by concerns that this case will lead to even more stringent controls on the public. There are even rumors spreading that it may have been perpetrated by members of the military, given the bold nature of the crime and the skills required to carry it out. [Daily NK]
There’s obviously no way to verify any of this, of course. According to the report and the rumors on which it’s based, the regime doesn’t know who did this, so it has sealed off the entire city to investigate (that part shouldn’t be so hard to verify). This is not the first report we’ve heard about North Koreans attacking secret police recently. Not even a made guy is protected anymore.
Not that you were wondering, but would I condone this sort of thing? Why, yes I would! Certainly there isn’t any democratic or non-violent way for North Koreans to protect themselves against this regime as they try to eke out some kind of living despite it. It’s not like Ban Ki-Moon is going to so much as say a supportive word on their behalf — if the man isn’t in Beijing’s pocket, he certainly fooled me. Whoever wrote the headline for Liz Sly’s latest report from Syria really put it best: “In Syria, world inaction fuels armed revolt.” Eventually, the same thing will happen in North Korea, right on China’s border, and China will only have itself to blame for letting the political and social pressures build to explosive levels. The odds are fair to good that China, seeking stability at all costs, will intervene and find itself in the middle of a messy insurgency that would catalyze the formation of a regional anti-Chinese military alliance and become a focal point for political dissent within China itself, but I digress. As I once read somewhere, when government becomes destructive of the lives, liberty, and happiness of the people, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it. I realize that some people who inhabit this planet’s comfort zones will insist that the North Korean people, despite the lack of alternatives before them, have no right to resort to violent resistance. But those people are obviously American exceptionalists.
Hat tip to a reader.