Women are the leaders of the revolt in North Korea - Les femmes prennent la tête d’une révolte sociale en Corée du nord...
Saturday 26 February 2011
La révolution de Jasmin a atteint la Corée du Nord
Dans la ville de Sinuiju, à la frontière avec la Chine «Des centaines de personnes ont affronté les forces de sécurité ... L’armée a été déployée pour réprimer la manifestation, en laissant certains manifestants blessés,» a déclaré Chosun. Alors que la protestation a été déclenché par une vague de répression dans un marché, il a été «une éruption de long mécontentement refoulée», il a dit.
es révoltes du monde arabe rendent les dirigeants nord-coréens nerveux. Ce dimanche, la dictature a de nouveau rugi en menaçant d’ouvrir le feu contre l’ennemi, le long de la DMZ, la frontière la plus militarisée au monde, qui déchire la péninsule depuis 1953. Motif de cette colère: des tracts et messages audio décrivant l’avancée des révoltes au Moyen-Orient, envoyé par l’armée sud-coréenne par-dessus la frontière. Pyongyang a exigé que Séoul cesse immédiatement cette «guerre psychologique», sous peine de mener des «attaques directes et ciblées» sur ses positions. Le Nord a également menacé de transformer la capitale sud-coréenne en une «mer de feu», à la veille du démarrage de nouveaux exercices militaires américano-sud-coréens de grande ampleur.
Depuis quelques jours, les forces du Sud envoient par-delà les barbelés des milliers de tracts décrivant les derniers événements en cours dans le monde arabe. En soulignant combien les dictatures et les «régimes héréditaires» sont voués à l’échec. Une provocation à l’heure où la famille des Kim prépare l’arrivée au pouvoir de sa troisième génération. Des messages qui viennent s’ajouter aux DVD et autres dépliants envoyés par des ONG via des ballons à l’hélium et qui dénoncent par le menu les camps de travail et autres crimes de la famille de Kim Jong-il.
La menace violente et immédiate de Pyongyang indique que les événements d’Afrique du Nord sont pris au sérieux par le royaume ermite, bien qu’aucun signe de contagion révolutionnaire ne soit apparu dans le pays. Et les stratèges sud-coréens ont décidé d’appuyer sur ce point sensible. Ils ont promis de poursuivre leurs opérations et d’envoyer de nouveaux messages donnant les dernières informations sur les révoltes en Libye ou en Égypte.
«Ils se nourrissent d’herbes sauvages»
«Les plus hauts dirigeants nord-coréens sont au courant et suivent ce qui se passe», affirme le ministre sud-coréen de l’Unification, Hyun In-taek. Mais «la population ignore sans doute les faits car la télévision ne rapporte rien et les gens ne peuvent pas utiliser l’Internet», ajoute ce faucon. Seule une poignée de hauts responsables parmi les 24 millions d’habitants ont accès à la Toile, le pays ayant mis en place un intranet géant coupé du réseau global. Une mainmise totalitaire qui fait de la société nord-coréenne la plus isolée du monde et qui explique la longévité exceptionnelle du régime dont beaucoup ont parié sur l’écroulement depuis la fin de la guerre froide. Pour la plupart des experts, cet isolement rend improbables les chances d’une révolte inspirée par le mouvement arabe. «Toute tentative de contestation serait réprimée immédiatement dans le sang», explique Cheong Seong-chang, du Sejong Institute.
Plus qu’une contestation politique, le régime s’inquiète de l’aggravation de la situation alimentaire qui pourrait saper sa mainmise auprès d’une population exsangue. Au point de faire appel à l’aide alimentaire de l’ONU, redoutant des moissons catastrophiques en 2011. 50 à 80% des récoltes de blé et d’orge sont menacées, et certaines populations «se nourrissent d’herbes sauvages», a constaté un groupe de cinq ONG humanitaires, de retour de Pyongyang.
Le régime stalinien de Kim Jong-Il tente de rendre encore plus hermétique l’accès aux informations étrangères. Des équipes de policiers anti-émeutes ont également été créées pour répondre à une éventuelle rébellion inspirée par le Moyen-Orient, selon le Daily NK, journal en ligne basé à Séoul .
« C’est le chaos à Pyongyang, je n’avais jamais vu ça. On voit de longues queues devant des magasins de nourriture presque vides. On y vient parce que les marchés ont fermé. Mon impression est que les gens ont faim, très faim ». Ces propos m’ont été confiés par Igor, qui vit dans la capitale nord-coréenne depuis 2002. A l’origine de cette crise, la réforme monétaire mise en place par le régime de Pyongyang. Celui-ci a cherché à mettre fin aux marchés parallèles qui échappaient à son contrôle, et à reprendre en main la classe émergente des petits commerçants. Si cette réévaluation a bien eu pour effet de ruiner ces petits entrepreneurs, elle a aussi fini par atteindre l’ensemble de la population.
En effet, dans ce contexte d’incertitude qui entoure la monnaie, ceux qui détiennent des denrées préfèrent attendre plutôt que vendre. Conséquences : une inflation galopante, et des marchés qui se vident. Une catastrophe pour les populations urbaines, qui en dépendent pour leurs courses quotidiennes. Le prix du riz aurait été multiplié par six.
A Séoul, la presse conservatrice a même parlé de Nord-Coréens en colère, qui s’en seraient pris physiquement à des agents de sécurité dans des villes de province. Des informations à prendre au conditionnel, comme toutes celles qui émanent de Corée du Nord.
Des Nord-Coréens affamés ont attaqué des agents de sécurité dans le pays communiste, l’un des plus pauvres au monde, en proie à des pénuries alimentaires chroniques, ont affirmé aujourd’hui plusieurs médias sud-coréens.
Les troubles ont pris de l’ampleur depuis la brusque réévaluation du won nord-coréen en novembre 2009, une mesure qui visait à enrayer les transactions au marché noir et qui a en revanche fait flamber les prix. La décision a pris de court les habitants et entraîné une aggravation des pénuries alimentaires, selon le journal d’informations en ligne Daily NK, hostile au régime nord-coréen.
« Les commerçants et les habitants ont perdu leur biens en raison de la réévaluation », assure ce média. « Les gens se vengent donc sur les agents de sécurité car ils se sentent désespérés avec le sentiment que, quoi qu’ils fassent, ils mourront », affirme une source anonyme citée par le journal. Selon le Daily NK, un incident s’est produit hier « lorsqu’un certain nombre » de gens ont agressé une patrouille d’agents sur des marchés de Pyongsung, dans la province de Pyongan-Sud. Le quotidien en ligne n’a donne aucun détail sur d’éventuelles victimes.
Son confrère du JoongAng Daily a affirmé que le patron des services secrets sud-coréens (NIS) avait fait état, la semaine dernière devant les députés, d’émeutes causées par cette réévaluation monétaire. « La mesure a provoqué des émeutes à certains endroits (…). Mais le gouvernement nord-coréen semble les avoir contrôlées », selon les propos de Won Sei-Hoon rapportés par le quotidien. Enfin, l’agence Yonhap citant des commerçants près de la frontière sino-nord-coréenne a fait état de gens mourant de faim.
Des centaines de milliers de Nord-coréens sont morts dans la grande famine des années 90 due aux calamités naturelles et à l’incurie économique du régime.
Depuis, la Corée du Nord a abondamment compté sur l’aide internationale pour nourrir sa population mais les flux sont régulièrement interrompus.
24 02 2011 By Sunny Lee
BEIJING – « The riots are expanding even into North Korea. Hundreds of protesters have collided with the authorities, » said South Korea’s largest-selling Chosun Ilbo newspaper on Thursday, as top news on its website. Now finally, the global cascade of « Jasmine revolutions » in the Middle East and North Africa appears to have entered North Korea.
Chosun posted a North Korea map with large red circles around multiple cities to mark « riot zones », adding more drama to the report.
One of the circles is the town of Sinuiju on the border with China. « Hundreds of people clashed with security forces … The military was deployed to quell the demonstration, leaving some protesters wounded, » said Chosun. While the protest was sparked by a crackdown in a market, it was « an eruption of long pent-up discontent », it said.
South Korea’s online newspaper Daily NK reported on Wednesday that North Korea had created a special mobilization force to prevent any demonstrations similar to the recent uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa.
Another daily, JoongAng Ilbo, said on Thursday that the authorities had begun purging elites who had studied abroad in Russia for fear of a possible coup by people « who were exposed to a Western lifestyle ».
Yet another vernacular newspaper, Donga Ilbo, on Thursday ran a piece on the « dramatic increase » of North Korean females choosing prostitution amid worsening economic hardship, linking it to the growing social instability of the country.
Indeed, hopes of a Jasmine revolution in North Korea are rising amid coverage of increasing pockets of resistance across the country, including the cities of Jongju, Yongchon and Sonchon, to mention a few. Read more…
Sunny Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a Seoul-born columnist and journalist; he has degrees from the US and China.
Isolated protests break out in North Korea
N.Korean Forces Crack Down on Protesters in Border Town
Hundreds of people clashed with security forces in the North Korean town of Sinuiju on the border with China on Friday, a source in the Stalinist country said Wednesday.
The military was deployed to quell the demonstration, leaving some protesters wounded.
The source said police officers cracking down on traders in a market in Sinuiju after the public holidays marking leader Kim Jong-il’s birthday beat one of them unconscious. The victim’s family protested and many other traders went along to support them.
When it looked as though other people might join the traders, security agents and military troops moved in. Rumor has it that four or five people were killed in the resulting clashes, but no details of civilian casualties are known.
The security forces were reportedly on emergency alert in the area after the incident. A defector from Sinuiju said, "Since Feb. 15, I’ve had difficulties communicating with my contact in Sinuiju. I called him at a pre-arranged time but his mobile phone was turned off."
The source said while the protest was sparked by the crackdown in the market, it was an eruption of long pent-up discontent.
The regime had promised to dole out special rations to Sinuiju residents ahead of Kim’s birthday on Feb. 16 but reportedly failed to keep the promise. People were also angry that the regime was once again trying to interfere with their attempts to earn a living in the market.
Meanwhile, the online newspaper Daily NK reported on Wednesday that the regime created a special mobilization force to prevent any demonstrations similar to the recent uprisings in the Middle East.
Feb 24, 2011
SEOUL – SMALL pockets of unrest are appearing in North Korea as the repressive regime struggles to feed its people, South Korean media reported yesterday.
The mass-circulation Chosun Ilbo reported that scores of people in Jongju, Yongchon and Sonchon in North Pyongan province last week caused a commotion two days ahead of leader Kim Jong Il’s Feb 16 birthday.
A North Korean source told Chosun Ilbo that the protesters fashioned makeshift megaphones out of newspapers and shouted: ‘We can’t live! Give us electricity! Give us rice!’
‘At first, there were only one or two people, but as time went by more and more came out of their houses and joined in the shouting,’ the source added.
The newspaper said that the North Korean secret police subsequently investigated the incident but failed to find out who had started the commotion.
‘When such an incident took place in the past, people used to report their neighbours to the security forces, but now they’re covering for each other,’ the source said.
Angry North Koreans have attacked security agents as hunger woes mount following a crackdown on free-market trade, according to reports on Tuesday from groups in Seoul with contacts in the communist state.
Social unrest and riots have flared since a shock currency revaluation by Pyongyang last November worsened shortages of food and other goods for an increasingly desperate population, they said.
« Traders and residents have lost their property due to the redenomination, » Daily NK, an online newspaper hostile to the reclusive regime in the North, quoted one source in North Korea as saying.
« Therefore, people are taking revenge on agents, since they feel so desperate that regardless of their actions, they will die, » the source in North Hamkyung province said. « As a result, social unrest is becoming more serious. »
In one violent incident, Daily NK said « a number of people » assaulted a group of security agents on patrol on Monday in markets in Pyongsung, South Pyongan province.
It gave no details of any casualties.
The paper, citing a group of defectors, said a fight had also broken out recently between residents and security agents monitoring the crackdown in Hyesan in Yanggang province.
As the fight turned nasty, it said, one resident snatched a gun from an agent and fired at random — leaving one security official in critical condition.
The North told its citizens on November 30 to swap old banknotes for new at a rate of 100 to one. But it capped the amount which could be exchanged, reportedly wiping out some people’s savings and causing widespread anger.
The revaluation was widely seen as an attempt by the regime to reassert control over the economy and clamp down on growing free-market activities in the country of about 24 million people.
But the move has reportedly fuelled inflation and created chaos in North Korean shops and markets, with some people forced to barter goods to survive.
North Korea has suffered severe food shortages since a famine in the 1990s killed hundreds of thousands of people. The United Nations tightened sanctions last year in response to the North’s nuclear test and missile launches.
JoongAng Daily newspaper quoted South Korea’s National Intelligence Service (NIS) chief Won Sei-Hoon as telling lawmakers last week the currency change had caused riots.
« The move late last year led to riots in some places, » Won was quoted as telling the lawmakers in a closed session. « But the North Korean government appears to have them now under control. »
The NIS declined to confirm Won’s comments.
Yonhap news agency, quoting traders near the Chinese border with North Korea, said the number of people dying of hunger is rising.
That view was echoed in a newsletter by Good Friends, an aid group with contacts in the North.
It said residents, including war veterans aged in their 70s or 80s, protested last month outside a city hall in Danchon, North Hamkyong province and that authorities rushed to release 1,000 tons of rice to placate them.
February 3, 2010
The North Korean dictatorship is struggling to contain civil unrest and runaway inflation caused by a drastic revaluation of its won currency, which is threatening new food shortages in the already hungry nation, according to reports in South Korea.
According to one news website, which has informants inside North Korea and has proved accurate in its reporting in the past, the Government has reversed its decision to ban private markets after isolated incidents of violence and unrest.
A separate report says that the senior member of North Korea’s Workers’ Party who led a recent crack down on markets and small scale traders has been purged, suggesting that the country may cautiously loosen its economy after a period of attempting to reassert central control.
It was at the end of last November that the Government announced a drastic revaluation of the won in an apparent effort to crack down on the country’s burgeoning free market economy. All North Koreans were required to swap old won notes with new ones at an exchange rate of one to 100, knocking two zeroes off their value. Because of a cap of 100,000 won per family ((€526 at the official exchange rate), anyone with significant holdings of cash had their savings wiped out.
Since then, reports of inflation and food shortages have trickled out of the isolated country via traders and smugglers in China, as well as North Koreans close to the Chinese border who take the risk of keeping illegal mobile telephones. According to such informants, quoted anonymously in the Seoul-based DailyNK news website, there has been “an explosion in the number of casualties resulting from popular resentment at harsh regulation of market activities by the security apparatus across North Korea.”
Agents of the People’s Safety Agency (PSA), which is conducting a so-called “Fifty Day Battle” against illegal enterprise, were reported to have been attacked and driven away as they sought out market activity in the city of Pyongsung in North Pyongan province. In the once prosperous industrial city of Chongjin on the country’s east coast, a steel worker named Jeung Hyun Deuk was reported to have killed an agent of the National Security Agency named Cho.
An unnamed source in the city told the DailyNK: “Traders and residents have lost their property due to the redenomination and are pretty much being treated as criminals as a result of the NSA and PSA’s ‘Fifty Day Battle’. Therefore, people are taking revenge on agents, since they feel so desperate that, regardless of their actions, they will die.”
The Seoul newspaper Chosun Ilbo reports today that Pak Nam Gi, finance director of the Workers’ Party, has been sacked, citing an unnamed diplomat in Beijing. “North Korean officials are busy blaming each other for the failed currency reform and Pak, who spearheaded the revaluation, is believed to have been sacked,” the diplomat told the newspaper. “Markets have come to a grinding halt following the currency revaluation and prices have soared.”
Recent utterances by the North Korean leader, Kim Jong Il, also hint at an awareness of the economic difficulties being faced by his people. “My heart bleeds for our people who are still eating corn,” he was quoted as saying in the Rodong Sinmun, the newspaper of the Workers’ Party. “Now what I have to do is feed our great people as much white rice, bread and noodles as they want.”
The implication — that all is not perfect in North Korea — in unusual in the country’s strictly controlled, and almost unwaveringly celebratory, state media. Last month he said: “We have already reached the status of a strong country in the military field, let alone politics and ideology, but there are still quite a number of things lacking in people’s lives.
“I am trying to implement the will [of his father, the founding “Great Leader” Kim Il Sung] by solving these problems. Although the Great Leader told us that we have to let the people eat rice with meat soup, wear silk clothes and live in a tiled roof house, we have not accomplished his will.”
In 2008, women revolt in North Korea; authorities back down
In an extremely rare public display of anger, thousands of North Korean women staged a spontaneous rally in Chongjin, a city in North Hamkyong Province. According to North Korean sources for Good Neighbor, a Seoul based Buddhist NGO, discontent had been mounting among women conducting business in Chongjin’s open market following the Feb. 15 execution of 15 women from nearby Onsong County. Those executed had been accused of helping villagers cross the border into China and engaging in human trafficking.
Following the execution, North Korean authorities banned women merchants under the age of 50 from the open market.
Since late last year, authorities had stipulated that only women older than 30 could conduct business in the open market. That age limit was subsequently raised to over 40 and then to 45. By the end of last year, the age was raised to 50.
Younger women, nevertheless, had found ways to deceive authorities. One popular method was to form a partnership with older women. Another was to accompany older family members such as mothers-in-law or aunts to the market stalls they owned.
In early March, the authorities began to dismantle stalls that were owned by women younger than 50. That infuriated women who were already agitated over news of executions.
Hundreds of women swarmed the market manager’s office in protest. It was a spontaneous outburst almost never seen in North Korea, according to the sources.
“They shouted and demanded either to let them continue doing business in the open market or otherwise resume food distribution," a source said.
“It was not like South Korean-style protests we used to watch on TV. There were no organizers or leaders, but the number swelled into thousands in a very short time.”
The scene was scary and surreal. But even more bizarre was that security officers did not try very hard to disperse the gathering.
“Instead, a security man explained to me that the true reason why those 15 women were shot was not because they helped villagers cross the border or arranged human trafficking," one source said. "The reason was because they were engaged in spying for South Korea. They had been feeding such harmful information as the price of things in the open markets.”
According to the sources, the protest continued into the next day, and the market management office withdrew the age restriction on March 5.
“I received all kinds of despicable treatment living outside of North Chosun (Korea). No matter how much I cried, no one in China would have sympathy on me.”
April 5th. The female defectors sat in a coffee shop in Shenyang as tears overflowed from their eyes. Their rough hands, coarse skin and large tear drops epitomized the torrential storms experienced.
That’s what happened in the mid-90’s. It’s been 10 years since the mass starvation. Since then, North Koreans have learned to struggle with death for live. For the lives of starving husbands and children and to feed one’s parents, these women had climbed mountains and farms, scrambling through various markets.
Women travel through the markets carrying packages that reach their height. On returning from family visits in China, women tie numerous plastic bags to their bodies full of goods to sell back in North Korea. Then, all the food that is acquired through these means, slips down the throats of their husbands and children.
This is how North Korea women fed and clothed their families for the past 10 years. Unable to prevail the destitute poverty that lay ahead, some women failed to cross the Tumen River and were targeted for slave trade where they went from village to village in China being sold as goods.
Age is not a factor in the slave trade business. There are 14 year old teenagers and even 50 year old women. A woman’s dignity is lost, and rather prices are determined by age and beauty. These women are sold into abuse, violence and forced labor in the mountainous regions of China.
The DailyNK interviewed 5 female defectors currently living in China. One of the women had been living in China 7 years, while another defector had left North Korea last month. Through these women, we were able to hear about the lives of North Korean women in 2007.
Though 10 years have passed since 1997, these women agree that, “their lives as women in Chosun had thoroughly deteriorated.”
In recent years there have been reports of sporadic small-scale protests against food shortages and other hardships, after hundreds of thousands of people died in a famine in the 1990s.
There were reports of protests especially following a disastrous currency revaluation in 2009.
Ordinary people in North Korea are ready to revolt against dictator Kim Jong Il, according to three fishermen who risked their lives to flee the country three decades after being abducted by its agents.
Few escapees ever publicly speak out for fear of endangering the lives of wives, children and friends left behind in North Korea.
But the three men now in South Korea said it was their duty to tell the world what was happening inside the world’s most secretive state.
As Hosni Mubarak stepped down last week after 30-year rule of Egypt, following the same fate of his Tunisian counterpart the previous month, the leaders of China and North Korea are wary of domestic upheaval.
Of course, some critics find it naive to hope that the fallout from dramatic events in the Middle East and North Africa can spill beyond the region to stir distant, repressed populations with no cultural or historical affinity.
This is especially so for countries like North Korea, where information is so tightly controlled that it will not likely be affected immediately by the evolving social network service that has played a pivotal role in Egypt’s popular revolution.
One of more effective way of disseminating information to North Korean people is rather old-fashioned. This week, South Korean activists hoisted helium balloons into the air and watched them drift into North Korea with a message attached: discard your leaders, just as the Egyptians did.
“The Egyptian people rose up in a revolution to topple a 30-year dictatorship,” said one of the leaflets. “The North Koreans too must revolt against a 60-year-old dictatorship.”
North Korea is known to have one of the worst human rights records. The strain of poverty and inefficient government in North Korea matches or exceeds that of Arab autocracies currently marred by street protests.
There is no sign of an organized opposition in North Korea, where most people do not have access to outside TV and radio, or the Internet. “They are just completely cut off from the outside world. They have their local system which is in no way physically connected to the Internet” said Andrei Lankov, a professor at Kookmin University in Seoul.
According to the scholar, possession of a short-wave radio to listen to news from abroad carries a 5 to 10 year prison term. “Any publications, including publications from other communist countries, are off-limits for people,” he said.
This is a stark contrast to Egypt, where protesters used Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to organize the uprisings. It is reported that North Korean state media have not reported events in Egypt, and it is doubtful that the leaflets of the South Korean activists, who also send short-wave radio broadcasts to the north, will reach or convince many people.
Paik Hak-soon, an analyst at the Sejong Institute research center near Seoul, speculated that top heads in North Korean government were “definitely aware” of what is happening in Egypt. But a similar uprising is unlikely, he said.
“There are so many differences in terms of ideology, in terms of power structure, in terms of domestic and external relationships,” Paik said. “North Korea is basically an isolated, socialist regime, protected by a most reliable and most supportive big power, China.”
Estimated up to 2 million North Koreans are believed to have starved to death in the 1990s due to years of flooding, poor harvest and economic mismanagement.
Despite a lack of Internet access, a growing number of North Koreans are being exposed to modern information technology and South Korean pop culture through USB devices, according to Lankov.
“In the long run, it will make a tremendous change,” he said.
The ousting of Hosni Mubarak last week after his 30-year rule of Egypt, following the same fate of his Tunisian counterpart the previous month, has alarmed the leaders of China and North Korea.
In their editorials, the state-run, mouthpiece media of the two nations have downplayed the impact of the regime change in Egypt.
There was an identifiable difference in the negative reactions to the Egyptian unrest between the Chinese and North Korean outlets. Chinese media expressed direct and straightforward skepticism, whereas the North’s response was indirect criticism of the pro-democracy movement in Egypt.
The North Korean media has not mentioned Egypt, but reading between the lines it is clear they are referring to the Egyptian uprising.
Michael Rubin, resident fellow of the Washington-based American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research (AEI), indicated that the difference probably reflects that compared with China, the North is relatively safe from the impact of the unrest sweeping the Arab world.
“I don’t think this unrest will spread to North Korea. Kim Jong-il and (his third son and heir-apparent) Jong-un hardly care for ordinary people, nor do North Koreans have the ability to mobilize independently,” Rubin told The Korea Times.
Many North Korea watchers here also concurred with the view that the popular protests in the Arab world, which were fanned by social media, would unlikely affect Pyongyang as most residents do not have access to the Internet.
Rubin pointed his finger at China as the nation that could be most affected by the unrest in the Arab world.
“China should be very worried. The wealth discrepancy is huge between the coastal cities and the inland villages. Inflation is gaining steam.”
His remarks came against the backdrop of the economic roots of the Egyptian unrest, including deep income disparity and high unemployment among young people.
Jeffrey Wasserstrom, professor of history at the University of California, Irvine, observed the Chinese authorities were well aware of the dynamism of popular protests from their own history: the pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square in 1989.
“In the 1989 protests that were crushed by the army, inflation and anger over corruption were important factors in getting students and others out onto the streets,” the professor said in an email interview with The Korea Times.
Wasserstrom, the author of the book “China in the 21st Century: What Everyone Needs to Know (2010),” noted the urban protests of the mid-to-late 1940s would be an even better parallel in Chinese history.
The uprising came against the backdrop of spiraling inflation and castigated then leader Chiang Kai-shek for not only heading a corrupt and authoritarian government, but also one that was too beholden to the Americans, the historian said.
“China’s current leaders know the history of those anti-Chiang Kai-shek protests involving educated youths very well, as along with pitched battles in the countryside they helped to pave the way for the Chinese Communist Party’s rise to national power in 1949.”
In the wake of the Egyptian uprising in January, the Chinese authorities censored the Internet. Two of the biggest Chinese portals, Sina.com and Netease.com, blocked keyword searches of the word Egypt.
The censorship was followed by cynical editorials published by the Global Times, which is seen as being a mouthpiece for the Chinese authorities.
In an editorial titled “Egypt Has Won a Battle but Not the War” published on Feb. 14, the paper wrote that the regime change may bring progress for Egyptian society, though there is also worry over the prospects for the country and the entire world.
“Egypt’s middle-class is weak, bureaucracy and corruption are prevalent and the income gap between the rich and the poor is huge. These problems cannot be solved by democracy itself.”
While the unmistakable downplay regarding the outcome of the uprising was featured in the Chinese media, North Korean media outlets covered the unrest in an indirect manner.
On Monday, an unnamed political commentator of a Pyongyang radio broadcast was quoted as saying that although the young people in Eastern Europe succeeded in toppling the socialist regimes back in the 1990s after the collapse of the Soviet Union, they are now living in a corrupt and sick capitalist culture.
“The pro-democracy protests in Eastern Europe have led to the destruction of what their predecessors had achieved during the socialist regime,” he said.
Another state-run radio broadcast reported that transitional economies that embraced western democracy and multi-party systems are being plagued with political instability and unrest of late.