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Freedom Collection

Interviews with Kim Seong Min

Interviewed June 23, 2024

The North Korean regime uses every possible method to protect its own little regime. For example the idolization of the family and propaganda of Kim Jong Il [Kim Jong Il was the dictator of North Korea from 1994 until his death in 2011.] and Kim Il Sung [Kim Il Sung was the founder of North Korea’s communist state and ruled from 1948 until his death in 1994, when he was succeeded by his son, Kim Jong Il.] are used to brainwash the people ever since they are young and they do not even realize that they are being turned into mental slaves.

The most important ways that North Korea uses it is to insulate the people from information and use only news that the regime produces and they show the people the same news over and over again, which makes the people of North Korea to be insulated from the world. So the control of information is the most important factor for this self-sustaining regime. The North Korean regime never gave up their efforts to maintain control over their political system. But I think that the North Korean people are experiencing what I call an evolution and we cannot ignore this effort entirely.

For example I was caught by the North Korean security police because I exchanged three letters to a South Korean journalist. These days, the North Korean people have cell phones. Therefore I can talk freely with them. They talk to me about the public executions and sometimes they send me videos of these public executions that they take with hidden cameras. Just this morning I was speaking with people from North Korea and we discussed how the people were reacting to the Supreme People’s Assembly [North Korea’s parliament] session held yesterday.

This is how the North Korean people are evolving. There are North Korean people who out of their own will are seeking information about the outside world even though there are strict restrictions. They also told me that they are living harder because of the rationing system since they don´t have support from the state. All of these efforts are an ongoing process of evolution. I think that the Kim Jong Il regime has a system where there is complete control over the people. For example, there are 1.5 million soldiers on active duty, 200,000 in the police force, and there are other kinds of armed forces across the nation. The regime is able to control the entire population because of this system.

For example when they show their military parades or mass gatherings it is not only for display but to show that the Kim Jong Il regime has absolute control over the people. But there are still some things that Kim Jong Il does not understand. For example the currency reform removed a lot of the wealth that the people struggled most of their lives to save. [In 2009, the regime revalued North Korea’s currency, wiping out savings for much of the population.] The North Korean people are angry and want their revenge.

Also the so-called “Arduous March” [a phrase used to describe the North Korean famine of 1994 – 1998] left three million dead from starvation and the children who of the people who died are still alive and witnessed this event. This will cause the North Korean people to be angry and eventually confront the system because there is not outlet for anger, which I think will lead to democracy in North Korea.