North Korean students reassigned to physical labour - Macleans.ca
 

North Korean students reassigned to physical labour

Is the hermit kingdom afraid of uprisings on campus?


 

University students in North Korea are preparing for a very long summer vacation — ten months of manual labour on farms, in factories or at construction sites in order to prepare for the 100-year anniversary of  their dead founder’s birth.

Peter Hughes, British Ambassador to North Korea, told University World News from Pyongyang: “I can confirm that students from all the universities in Pyongyang have been mobilised to work at construction sites in the outskirts of the city until April 2012.”

Universities are still open, but foreigners have noticed the very small number of students left studying there in recent months.

Hughes also said: “Some two years ago the DPRK announced that it would build 200,000 units of accommodation in the city to ease the chronic housing shortage. To date only some 10,000 units have been built, so the students have been taken out of universities in order to speed up the construction of the balance before major celebrations take place in April 2012.”

But analysts from Japan and South Korea told University World News that Pyongyang may have dispersed university students  for another more nefarious reason: they fear of demonstrations. They noted that North Korea purchased tear gas and batons from China earlier this month and has increased police levels on city streets.


 

North Korean students reassigned to physical labour

  1. The one thing we know for sure about North Korea is that we really do not know anything about what is happening there. Even the best informed analysts in the US government who watch and track events carefully would admit that until something actually happens everthing is pure guesswork. And when things happen, the “why” is always a guess.
    That said, we know that the past 10 years , or so, have been very bad for the country, particularly for the masses. Unfortunately for the average North Korean information is so restricted and controlled by the state that any uprising similar to North Africa is an extremely remote possibility. To surmise that putting the students to work is part of the preparations for public relations planning for next year, as well as to control and head-off at the pass any potential student revolt, is probably as good a guess as any. Nobody will ever really know.