North Korea’s ruling party daily on Monday carried an authoritative editorial warning citizens against acts unbecoming of “socialist culture and lifestyle,” including “drinking debauchery” and acting in an “uncivilized” manner in public places like cinemas and theaters.
The editorial (sasol), prominently featured on the first page of Monday’s Rodong Sinmun, urged North Koreans to “Hold fast and Bring Glory to Our Culture and Lifestyle” and called for an intense struggle against “immoral and exotic” ways of living.
This included, it said, “acting in an uncivilized manner, indulging in privilege… at public places such as the theatres and the cinemas, and engaging in drinking debauchery.”
Urging North Koreans to be “unyielding and merciless” in the face of this kind of misbehavior, it also called for a stricter education on “those who turn a blind eye” to such transgressions.
Drawing a comparison between “immoral and exotic” imperialist culture and the DPRK’s, Monday’s editorial reiterated ideas initially featured in a 2016 speech by leader Kim Jong Un to top officials at the 7th Congress of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK).
Citing the DPRK leader, the article urged North Koreans to fight against “ideological-cultural infiltration schemes by the imperialists,” warning that such schemes were becoming more “cunning and heinous” by the day.
Excessive interest in the “fancy” lives of those in capitalist nations only served to “screw up the revolution,” it argued, urging North Koreans to engage in active attack against such tendencies.
The “socialist power” that North Korea aims to develop, Monday’s article emphasized, is the “most developed country not only in the political, military, and economic sectors, but also in the cultural sphere.”
“The youths should actively set out for the work to blossom our culture and lifestyle… luxury, empty formalities, and vanity should be strictly rejected,” it said.
Monday’s editorial is the third to appear in the North Korean party daily this month warning domestic audiences against abuses of power and actions “seeking privilege and preferential treatment” by officials.
But while Monday’s Rodong editorial did not refer to that meeting, it did repeat a warning against “drinking debauchery” — one of several accusations leveled against a local official reportedly expelled from the ruling party earlier this month.
“This appears to be part of an emerging new genre of public, open criticism of corruption, ideological slackness, anti-social and ‘uncivilized’ behavior,” Peter Ward, a researcher focusing on North Korean politics and economics, told NK News.
“This genre is tied to an ongoing campaign against elite corruption, petty corruption, and consumption of unauthorized foreign content,” he explained, while adding that this campaign is not new, going through multiple iterations “since the early 1990s.”
“The current level of intensity, however, appears to be new,” he pointed out. “Kim Jong Un appears to be becoming more and more interested with the problem of elite corruption and the North Korean people’s interest in foreign culture.”
“This is an interest he has always had since taking power, but this interest appears to be becoming more intense as the economic situation worsens in the country due to sanctions and the coronavirus.”
Edited by Oliver Hotham
North Korea's ruling party daily on Monday carried an authoritative editorial warning citizens against acts unbecoming of "socialist culture and lifestyle," including "drinking debauchery" and acting in an "uncivilized" manner in public places like cinemas and theaters.
The editorial (sasol), prominently featured on the first page of Monday's Rodong Sinmun, urged North Koreans to "Hold fast and Bring Glory to Our Culture and Lifestyle" and called for an intense struggle against "immoral and exotic" ways of living.