Although North Korea is outwardly promoting an image of relative "opening" through its participation in the Olympics and recent invitation to South Korean K-pop artists to perform in Pyongyang, sources in other areas of the country are reporting that within North Korea, the authorities are intensifying their crackdown on the spread of outside information.
"Residents of Chongjin had to attend a lecture on March 2 entitled, 'Severe punishment for anti-state criminals and how to properly report them,'" a source in North Hamgyong Province told Daily NK on March 21. "The lecture stressed the need to eliminate situations where people make contact with the outside world, such as illegally crossing the border, making international phone calls, or receiving remittances from abroad."
"These lectures were delivered at factories, collective farms, People's Unit (inminban) meetings, and elsewhere across the country, and focused not only on existing communication occurring in the border region, but also on preventing these established avenues from spreading further into other parts of the country," he added.
It appears that the North Korean authorities are attempting to shut down common routes of information dissemination such as phone conversations between residents and defector family members, which sometimes occur when remittances are being arranged. .......