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N. Korean university students complain about the state taking away their vacations

North Korean university students are complaining that instead of resting they have to spend the holidays in social-political activities such as various propaganda and support activities in factories, enterprises, and farms, Daily NK has learned.

Speaking on condition of anonymity for security reasons, a source in Pyongyang told Daily NK on Wednesday that university students across the country “are engaged in various socio-political activities in cities and rural areas under orders to take part in economic agitation for reinvigorating the people’s economy.” In particular, students from provincial areas enrolled in universities in Pyongyang “have given up taking meaningful vacations in their hometowns and are busy running around Pyongyang instead.”

Students from the provinces have been engaged in socio-political activities since they returned to Pyongyang immediately after the New Year holiday. Although the students could carry out activities near their hometowns, they return to Pyongyang to do so because doing so in the capital can earn them more recognition for their loyalty than in the little-noticed provincial areas.

University students have to submit to their schools certificates issued by the places where they did their socio-political activities, stating exactly what they did. However, students from wealthy, influential families find it tedious and annoying to obtain these certificates by doing socio-political activities in factories, enterprises, and farms, so they obtain the certificates in exchange for bribes in cash or cigarettes.

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On the other hand, students from less well-connected families work hard to earn as much recognition as possible for their activities, running around production centers every day looking for things to do.

“The state requires university students to use their winter holidays to engage in economy-related propaganda and agitation activities, but this doesn’t mean that the tasks assigned to them for the holidays disappear,” the source said. “So some students say this is the first time they’ve heard the authorities ask them to ‘donate their vacations to the state,’ and complain that the sacrifice won’t improve the state of affairs.”

Students from provincial areas who had originally planned to go home during the holidays to meet with friends, eat home-cooked meals, complete their holiday assignments and prepare for the next semester are sulking about having to rush back to Pyongyang after the Lunar New Year to participate in forced socio-political activities, the source said.

“Students who have neither money nor power suffer from socio-political activities during the day and their holiday assignments at night,” he said. “The holiday assignments include a lot of different things that require going to a library or using a computer, so students have to face a lot of difficulties as they have to look for places with electricity.”

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Translated by David Black. Edited by Robert Lauler.

Daily NK works with a network of sources living in North Korea, China, and elsewhere. Their identities remain anonymous for security reasons. For more information about Daily NK’s network of reporting partners and information-gathering activities, please visit our FAQ page here.

Please send any comments or questions about this article to dailynkenglish@uni-media.net.

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The post N. Korean university students complain about the state taking away their vacations appeared first on Daily NK English.

January 30, 2024 at 07:30AM

by DailyNK(North Korean Media)

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