Exclusive: Statues made of dollars in North Korea

Tuesday 16th February, 2016

The KWP Organisation and Guidance Department has ordered corps headquarters across the nation to construct new statues of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il, according to documents seen by our internal correspondent. This is to commemorate the upcoming 7th Congress of the Worker’s Party to be held in May 2016.

The orders were passed down by the KWP Organizational authority to the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea, and were then ratified in the name of the Supreme Command.

The budget documents for “Enshrine-the-Statue Campaign” state the appropriation for the constructions at $600,000. Each corps headquarters and their currency-earning entities are to set aside $300,000 each by the deadlines of February 16th and April 15th.

These amounts are the established minimum cost for the sole purpose of constructing  statues. In addition, corps headquarters and the People’s Committees (the KWP organisational authority over North Koreans in the residential sphere) are requiring loyalty fund offerings from soldiers and residents under their remit.  The “offerings of loyalty” are an obligatory requirement on all trading companies, while residents are assigned to acquire materials for placement near the statues, including lighting and adornment.

More pressure is also put on workers stationed abroad: personnel working at North Korean embassies, trading companies, and independent currency-earning entities are to pay individual tributes of $1,000, $1,500, and $100,000 respectively.

A residential correspondent added, “The initially appointed amount by the KWP organisational authority snowballs every time it is passed down to a lower command. The next thing they will take away is the ordinary people’s copper utensils”.

A “Statue of Dear Leader” has gained a new nickname “Statue of Dear Dollar”, along with a joke that “the Dear Leaders are fond of dear dollars”. North Korean residents tend to engage in ironic humor through homonyms: “It’s the almighty ‘statue (Dong-sang)’ the Dear Leaders get, and it’s ‘freezing to death (Dong-sang, homonym)’ the people get.”

By Shin Jun-shik.
Read in Korean.
Translated by Jinny Lee.

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