Systemic Surveillance and the Restriction on the Freedom of Expression

2019-08-06 17:07
"An immense prison in reality, a huge cult group locked up in a closed border"

Today, with 1.2 billion tourists traveling annually around the world, there is a country that one cannot visit without state permission. The country is North Korea. In order for a North Korean resident to move from one province to another, one needs a travel certificate. The issuance of this certificate is strictly controlled by the state. Even if one gets this certificate, it takes a few days for it to issue. This violates the freedom of movement.

The UN Commission on Liberal Rights says that in relation to Article 12 (2) of the Covenant on Human Rights, a state must provide adequate documentation, such as a passport, to individuals who wish to leave their country. However, North Korea restricts its target country of traveling to China only. Even when residents want to issue traveler's passports for the purpose of visiting relatives, they can only go to China, and the process of passport issuance is very demanding.

The North Korean authorities control their citizens through a huge surveillance system like a Panopticon. First of all, all North Koreans join the ‘People's Class (Inminban),’ where the People's Committee in each region monitors every single residents’ ideas, lives and their whereabouts. The People’s Class’ leader visits each family at random. If Kim Il-sung, Kim Jung Il or Kim Jung eun’s portrait is crooked or if a USB containing a South Korean movie or drama, which is forbidden by law in North Korea, is found, he or she may be severely punished at a labor camp or at a political prison camp.

In addition, there's a ‘Five-Family Managing System(o-ho-damdang-jae),’ in which five families are grouped into one. The most enthusiastic member of the five families takes the initiative to monitor all of his/her neighbors' private lives. There is also a “Life Criticism System(saengwhal-chongwha).” Through this systematic meeting, all residents have time for self-reflection and mutual criticism. This institutionalized system, where people criticize one another and finishes with Kim Il Sung and Kim Jung Il’s words, is a tragic system that ignores humanity itself. Not only that, there is a system of establishing a spy called ‘Safety Workers(anjeon-sojowon)’ who constantly spy on their neighbors' private lives.

Of course, at the top of this huge surveillance institution are Kim Jeong-eun and the Labor Party, that control and brainwash North Koreans in the most inhumane way.

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