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North Korea urges mothers to snitch on their kids who watch South Korean media

The government has offered forgiveness to teens whose mothers report on their ‘anti-socialist’ actions.

By Son Hye-min for RFA Korean

January 22, 2024

North Korea is asking mothers to snitch on their kids who steal government property and watch illegal media, promising forgiveness if they report their actions to authorities, residents in the country told Radio Free Asia.

The request came during the country’s national meeting for mothers, held from Dec. 3-5, the fifth ever meeting of its kind and first in 11 years. Speakers at the meeting emphasized that mothers must strengthen family education and do their part to eradicate anti-socialist elements. 

In January, people who attended the national meeting were obliged to provide lectures organized by the Socialist Women’s Union of Korea, the country’s premier women’s organization. The message of forgiveness was relayed to the mothers during these lectures, sources said.

In the city of Anju in the western province of South Pyongan, attendees to the lecture were surprised that it was an ordinary woman who spoke to them rather than an official, a resident there told RFA Korean.

“This is the first time that an ordinary member of the Women’s Union gave a lecture,” she said, adding that the speaker told them the usual messages of respecting their husbands and having lots of children.

“The lecturer said that it is important for mothers to educate their children to eliminate anti-socialism,” she said. “If their children have committed a crime, such as watching South Korean movies or stealing state property, mothers should voluntarily report it to the judicial authorities and receive forgiveness.”

Serious crime

Stealing from government supplies and watching illegal media are serious crimes in North Korea, with violators punished harshly, sometimes even  with public executions.

Last year RFA reported that parents would take the rap if their kids were caught watching foreign media, but now authorities appear to be asking moms to tell on their kids. 

At the lecture held in Tongrim county, in the northwestern province of North Pyongan, the speaker took it a step further, saying that mothers should police how their kids dress and forbid them from dancing in a certain way, a resident there told RFA.

“The lecturer said that educating our children is important to eliminate the trends of unusual clothing and dancing that has recently appeared among young people,” she said.

“If mothers voluntarily reported their children who took drugs at home, indulged in exotic cultures, or committed social crimes, the authorities would take responsibility, educate them, and not charge them with any crime.”

But many in attendance were not buying it. 

“Women responded to the lecture about reporting their children to the judicial authorities with astonishment,” she said, “saying mothers are now being used as a means of controlling young people.”

Translated by Claire S. Lee. Edited by Eugene Whong.


Photo in folder

ENG_KOR_MothersMeeting_01222024People listen as North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un speaks at the 5th National Meeting of Mothers in Pyongyang, Dec. 4, 2023. (KCNA via REUTERS)



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