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Sariwon residents dismayed at government-business collusion on construction projects

As the North Korean authorities promote the construction of houses and factories in rural areas, party and government officials have colluded with the donju (North Korea’s wealthy entrepreneurial class) to have ordinary citizens buy construction materials produced by the same donju. This collusion is causing considerable levels of discontent among ordinary people.

“Sariwon has ordered the city’s donju to produce bricks and other cement composite construction materials needed to meet the state’s economic construction targets. City officials have instructed citizens to buy the materials with their own money and donate them to the state,” a source in North Hwanghae Province told Daily NK on Wednesday, speaking on condition of anonymity for security reasons.

According to the source, Sariwon residents have recently seen donju producing large quantities of construction materials and piling them up in empty lots and the front yards of one-story houses.

Many Sariwon residents concluded that they would soon be given the “non-tax burden” of donating construction materials to the government. In the past, when donju piled up construction materials, people were mobilized their companies, schools, and neighborhood watch units to donate bricks and other materials needed for construction projects, either on a family or organizational level.


And that is exactly what the Sariwon government did on Jan. 26 when it announced regional development and construction projects to begin in the spring. Now people will have to buy bricks from the donju and donate them to the city.

“A few years ago, the city’s people’s committee used to collect raw materials such as cement, gravel, and sand and have factories make construction materials from them. That was more affordable for people who had to donate materials. But now they have to buy materials made by the donju for the donations, which ends up costing twice as much,” the source said.

In other words, the materials made by the donju are much more expensive than those mass-produced in factories.

People complain about unscrupulous government officials 


The arrangement is a boon for party and government officials, who receive kickbacks from the donju to whom they award manufacturing contracts, and for the donju themselves, who profit from the construction materials they sell to the people. Meanwhile, ordinary citizens are left holding the bag.

“People are angry at both the municipal party committee and the people’s committee for collusion with the donju, and at the donju themselves for using this opportunity to make a profit,” the source said.

“People also complain about being ordered by the Workers’ Party to build houses and factories in the provinces on their own, without any rations. But they’re even more uncomfortable about being exploited to enrich the state and entrepreneurs through this kind of collusion.

“Many people are turned off by attempts to justify what is nothing more than a vulgar pursuit of profit by party and government officials and the donju. There’s growing resentment among the people over their attempts to enrich themselves without even trying to reduce the burden on the public.”


Translated by David Carruth. Edited by Robert Lauler. 

Daily NK works with a network of sources who live in North Korea, China, and elsewhere. Their identities remain anonymous due to security concerns. More information about Daily NK’s reporting partner network and information-gathering activities can be found on our FAQ page here.  

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

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The post Sariwon residents dismayed at government-business collusion on construction projects appeared first on Daily NK English.

February 09, 2024 at 04:30AM

by DailyNK(North Korean Media)

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