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The Central Party’s Propaganda and Agitation Department found that paper and booklets with Kim Jong-un’s face on them were being treated as scrap paper and so announced an investigation and immediate program of ideological training to rectify the situation. The booklets with Kim Jong-un’s face on them are known as “No. 1 publications”. Now the central authorities have pledged to track down the local officials that allowed the revered books to be treated in such a way and hold them responsible for this perceived lack of respect.
A North Korean official spoke in anonymity to Radio Free Asia and said: “Under the supervision of the Central Party’s Propaganda and Agitation Department, the ideological inspections are being conducted on the party committees of each province, city, and county.
“The purpose of this inspection is to further strengthen the ideological education of local government officials and residents through the process of censuring and criticising the effectiveness of the local government agencies’ ideological education projects.
“The inspection is all because people are allowing books and newspapers containing No. 1 portraits, or artwork by Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-il and Kim Jong-un to be damaged.
“The people are further undermining the authority of the ‘great people of Mount Paekdu’ by selling the damaged publications as scrap paper.”
The official added: “The authorities ordered strict punishment of such acts because they go against the party and compromise its authority and that of its leaders.”
The nationwide order to “thoroughly manage No. 1 publications and to educate and control the people so that they don’t sell them as scrap paper” went out to officials, workers, and members of the Kimilsungist-Kimjongilist Youth League.
The source added: “The authorities will thoroughly check each provincial party committee on how No. 1 publications are distributed to lower-level organisations.
“The officials are nervous because the authorities mentioned punishing responsible officials for the damaged publications.”
The source explained that officials in North Hamgyong were “scrambling” to correct the problems ahead of the Central Committee’s inspection.
The source added: “The regional party committees conducted a project to pre-inspect the No. 1 publications and took countermeasures against any issues they found in preparation for the Central Committee’s inspection.
“We have not yet had inspections in this area, but because it is coming soon, the local party officials are disconcerted.
“They are moving fast to correct any issues found as soon as possible as it is their only way to avoid punishment.”
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Another source from North Korea told Radio Free Asia the inspection will also include old videos of the leaders that have deteriorated in quality over time.
The source said: “The party, labour organisations and Group 109 are also collecting substandard videos.
“So far, there have been several instructions and inspections to root out the old videos, but it was concluded that nothing has improved, so the authorities are trying to find problems and take more stringent measures”.
The Kim family has been revered in a strict program of government forced worship since the founding of the totalitarian state.
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