A North Korea flag flutters next to concertina wire at the North Korean embassy in Kuala Lumpur


  • North Koreans were ordered to read 10,000 pages of propaganda this year
  • The Pyongyang regime required North Koreans to keep journals of what they read
  • Some North Koreans questioned the need to read materials that only contain praises for Kim Jong Un

North Korea has launched a 2023 propaganda reading campaign to foster loyalty among its citizens to the Pyongyang regime and leader Kim Jong Un.

North Korea ordered its citizens to read 10,000 pages of propaganda materials this year as part of the campaign, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported.

Unnamed sources told RFA that the campaign also aims to counter "reactionary" South Korean popular culture after movies, TV shows and music its southern neighbor produced were smuggled into the country through memory sticks and other devices.

Factory workers in the North Korean province of South Pyongan, north of the country's capital Pyongyang, were ordered to read materials such as Kim's speeches and transcripts of party plenary meetings, one source told RFA.

"They have to write down what they read every day and present it to the party organization at the end of the year," the source, who wished to remain anonymous for security reasons, said.

But the source claimed that North Korean factory workers complained that the books in the country are "nothing but propaganda that our great leader is the best."

"If the books were as fun to read as South Korean movies are to watch, wouldn't we be reading them all night long?" the source added.

The same is happening in the North Pyongan province, where members of North Korea's Socialist Women's Union were told to read the published works of current and previous leaders or novels with a socialist message.

A second source, who also wished to remain anonymous, told RFA that the purpose of the reading campaign is to "build up mental nourishment to prepare oneself politically and ideologically."

North Pyongan residents were ordered to read at least 30 pages daily and to maintain personal reading journals, in which they would summarize the key feelings and thoughts from what they read, the source added.

The source claimed that the campaign is meant to "eradicate the reactionary thought" among North Korean citizens, but she questioned the need to read 10,000 pages that only contain praises about Kim.

North Korea also conducted a reading campaign last year, Reuters reported, citing Pyongyang's state-owned KCNA.

At the time, Kim said the reading campaign was needed to further advance North Korea's ideology of self-reliance while facing the "worst difficulties."

"We should regard the ideological and moral strength of the popular masses as the foremost weapon as ever and stir it up in every way," Kim said.

The origins of North Korea's reading campaign can be traced back to the 1960s, when Kim Jong Il, the current leader's father, initiated a "10,000-page reading movement" at Kim Il Sung University.

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