North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un is cracking down on defectors in a terrifying way, forcing citizens who either live or travel near the Chinese border to sign a pledge saying that they will not try to escape.
The New York Post reported that any North Korean who wants to travel within the nation already needs special permits to do so. Now, they will need to go through even more red tape if they want to travel someplace near the country’s border with China.
“Since early this month, residents who need travel certificates to go to the border areas must submit a document with their fingerprint on it confirming they will never defect from North Korea,” a resident of North Hamgyong province told Radio Free Asia’s Korean Service.
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“Citizens used to be allowed to verbally declare they had no plans to defect, and get inter-provincial travel passes by showing a certificate of citizenship and character references,” the resident added. “Stamping another fingerprint to get a travel certificate is not that difficult, but it is unpleasant that so many confirmation documents have been added, and people going to the border areas feel frustrated that they are being treated as potential escapees.”
“An acquaintance of mine applied for a permit to travel to the border area to attend his mother’s 70th birthday party,” another insider added. “He was able to go to his hometown after going through all that difficulty, but his daughters, who are married and live in Hwanghae and Pyongang provinces, were unable to attend, so the party was held without them, in an atmosphere of disappointment.
“It seems they were refused because they did not prepare the necessary documents in advance,” the source continued. This person went on to say that the policy has already impacted North Koreans’ abilities to attend various family events.
“Residents living near the border area are also severely restricted in terms of their own freedom of movement, and they are always treated as potential escapees,” the insider concluded. “Even if they want to move to other areas because they don’t like it, the authorities usually won’t allow them to leave, so they are very unhappy.”
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