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N. Koreans scoff at government’s propaganda about childcare programs

North Korea continues to spread propaganda about the ruling party’s childcare programs, including the distribution of free dairy products to children. Recently, the party even ran a story in the Rodong Sinmun quoting grateful members of the public. But some North Koreans grumble that few actually benefit from these childcare programs.

“Many parents in Hyesan cannot afford to send their children to nurseries or kindergartens. So people scoff at the nonstop propaganda in the Rodong Sinmun and on TV about how the party’s love makes it possible to raise children without any worries,” a source in Yanggang Province told Daily NK on April 19, speaking on condition of anonymity.

At its third plenary session in June, the Eighth Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea took the unusual step of discussing an agenda item on improving and strengthening the party’s childcare programs.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un emphasized the importance of childcare programs with the following words: “Considering that children are the future of our country, ensuring that they grow up strong is a revolutionary program of the utmost importance. Improving childcare conditions regardless of the cost is the top priority and the greatest goal of the Party and the government.”

The following year, in February 2022, the Supreme People’s Assembly passed the Childcare Law at its sixth session, mandating that childcare conditions be improved and that children be provided with dairy products and other nutritious foods. Since then, the Party has continued to propagandize about its childcare programs.

For example, the Rodong Sinmun printed an article titled “Voices of Gratitude for the Mother Party’s Childcare Programs” on the second page of its Apr. 9 issue. But according to the source, several Hyesan residents who came across the article were astonished at how far removed it was from reality.

The article in question quoted Ju Yeong-hui, a resident of Songsin-1 in Sadong District, as saying that she felt confident about raising five children thanks to the party’s tireless efforts on behalf of the next generation. Ju added that she was able to move into a new house on Songhwa Street two years ago because of special benefits for families with multiple children.

“There are families with three children here [in Hyesan], but they haven’t received any benefits from the government. It makes me feel bad just to see the struggles of families with many children. Imagine how ridiculous this [article] would seem to them,” the source said.

The biggest problem, the source said, is that many families cannot send their children to nurseries or kindergartens because they are expected to pay for everything but water.

Under these circumstances, some North Koreans grumble that free dairy products from the government are of little use if they cannot even afford child care.

“More and more parents these days are telling their children not to have children because they don’t want their children to suffer like they have. If the government programs were any help, I doubt they’d be saying that,” the source said.

“They keep printing nice sounding stories that may sound plausible to people on the outside who don’t know what’s really happening. But the reality is that children continue to die of malnutrition,” he continued, adding: “It would be better if they didn’t do this kind of propaganda. The claims that the party’s childcare programs are giving children better nutrition and taking away parents’ worries only make people more upset.”

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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April 23, 2024 at 11:30AM

by DailyNK(North Korean Media)

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