North Koreans are sprucing up the border city of Sinuiju amid a blaze of propaganda as Kim Jong Un prepares to lead the first Workers’ Party of Korea Congress in 36 years.
As the “70-day battle” draws to a close ahead of the landmark Party Congress on May 6, teams of workers could be seen squatting on roadsides and suspended from platforms on the facades of buildings at work sites across the city.
Workers have repainted apartment blocks, re-laid turf, planted flowers and renovated the base of a stone mural engraved with a eulogy to the country’s leaders beside the city’s Revolutionary History Museum and bronze statues of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il.
Signs counting down the days to the Party Congress urge each worker “to be a glorious winner” at factories and offices across Sinuiju.
The hand-painted propaganda signs feature a red flag and a soldier pointing at passersby with the question: “Have you fulfilled your battle plan for today my friend?”
Some of these posters also featured adjacent propaganda signs featuring a laborer in a yellow hard hat, fist raised to the sky in front of a gleaming skyscrapers.
“High enthusiasm for politics and brilliant aptitude at work,” it reads.
Most of the major roads in Sinuiju are lined with red flags, and at main road junctions teams of women dressed in smart black jackets were seen waving red flags to revolutionary music playing from loud speakers.
These “volunteers” – who have turned out every day during the 70-day campaign – were mostly “housewives” keen to “encourage workers,” said a source in Sinuiju.
Authorities have also deployed minivans emblazoned with the words “broadcast propaganda” and “the loyal 70-day battle” which drive around the city blaring out political slogans from mounted loudspeakers.
On the outskirts of Sinuiju, a squadron of school children dressed in black shirts attached with Kim badges and tied with red neckerchiefs marched in formation down a road lined with red flags. Some held garlands of plastic flowers which they pumped into their air, fists raised.
Children at the front of each formation held up a hand-painted in red with the simple slogan: “winners’ congress.”
Story and photos contributed by an NK News correspondent who wishes to remain anonymous for security reasons.
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