Work cards issued to strengthen monitoring of farm mobilizations in North Korea
The North Korean authorities have begun issuing “work cards” to confirm whether individual residents are participating in mandatory mobilizations for farm work.
“These work cards are new this year and are about the size of your palm. If you don’t have one, you can’t go anywhere,” a Pyongyang-based source told Daily NK. “Work unit managers at farms stamp the cards to confirm that each individual has worked on the farm as required.”
A former resident of Pyongyang told Daily NK that North Korean officials had previously used “work value cards” to allocate mobilization quotas within each inminban (neighborhood watch unit). Each inminban head would be responsible for 300 of these cards, requiring them to calculate both the number of laborers needed and the number of days required to fulfill their quotas.
In the past, inminban heads were only required to fulfill their quotas in any way they could. This meant that some residents were able to buy their way out of the mobilizations through bribes. However, the new system of “work unit cards” brings heightened surveillance over individual participation in the mobilizations, preventing residents from bribing their way out of working in the fields, the defector said.
“Anyone who gets their card stamped by their unit manager can freely go about their business the next day,” the source said. “If you’re stopped by officials on the street you have to show them your card. If you don’t have it or if the card doesn’t have a stamp, you’ll be sent back to the fields.” ......