North Koreans unhappy with excess celebration of late leader's birthday

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North Koreans unhappy with excess celebration of late leader's birthday

This video footage shows a scene from the 22nd Kimjongilia Festival in Pyongyang last year. Screenshot from DPRK Today's YouTube channel

By Jung Da-min

The poster for the 23rd Kimjongilia Festival to be held from Feb. 14-21 in Pyongyang, released by North Korea's state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on Sunday. KCNA-Yonhap
The 23rd Kimjongilia Festival from Feb. 14 to 21 in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang is expected to display the flower named after the current leader's late father and celebrate his Feb. 16 birthday, known locally as the Day of the Shining Star.

But that is excessive even by some North Koreans' standards, according to Radio Free Asia (RFA), a U.S.-funded multi-language media outlet.

"Unlike ordinary plants, Kimjongilia needs more than 15 hours of light and is a particularly sensitive plant in terms of temperature, so even if we succeed in making it bloom in cold weather like now, it easily falls off in a day or two," a source in the North's South Pyongan Province told RFA last week, on condition of anonymity.

According to the source, the cultivators struggled to raise the temperature inside the greenhouse, using LED lights and briquettes to ensure the conditions needed for the flower.

This 2016 video footage shows a North Korean family cultivating Kimjongilia inside a greenhouse. Screenshot from DPRK Today's YouTube channel

Residents in each province had also been forced to provide supplies for the Kimilsungia-Kimjongilia Greenhouses across the nation, so their regions could meet the assigned quota for the festival.

"Residents visited the Kimongilia Greenhouse on the (lunar) New Year's day to deliver the support materials and were surprised to see the large greenhouse was built with special glass and expensive imported equipment from abroad was installed inside it," the source said. "Residents strongly criticized the central party for spending that much foreign currency just to cultivate the flowers for the festival."

Although the North Korean government has been claiming the residents were voluntarily striving to cultivate Kimjongilia, residents and cultivators were disgusted by the statements, the source said.

Meanwhile, a large ice sculpture festival began on Sunday in Samjiyon, Ryanggang Province, near Mount Paektu, which North Korea promotes as Kim Jong-il's birthplace.

According to state media DPRK Today, Monday, officers and soldiers of the regiment of the Ministry of People's Security have spent 40 days and nights bringing in about 2,000 pieces of ice and snow weighing thousands of tons.

Last year's Ice Sculpture Festival in Samjiyon, Ryanggang Province. Screenshot from DPRK Today's YouTube channel
This video footage shows a scene from the 22nd Kimjongilia Festival in Pyongyang last year. Screenshot from DPRK Today's YouTube channel

By Jung Da-min

The poster for the 23rd Kimjongilia Festival to be held from Feb. 14-21 in Pyongyang, released by North Korea's state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on Sunday. KCNA-Yonhap
The 23rd Kimjongilia Festival from Feb. 14 to 21 in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang is expected to display the flower named after the current leader's late father and celebrate his Feb. 16 birthday, known locally as the Day of the Shining Star.

But that is excessive even by some North Koreans' standards, according to Radio Free Asia (RFA), a U.S.-funded multi-language media outlet.

"Unlike ordinary plants, Kimjongilia needs more than 15 hours of light and is a particularly sensitive plant in terms of temperature, so even if we succeed in making it bloom in cold weather like now, it easily falls off in a day or two," a source in the North's South Pyongan Province told RFA last week, on condition of anonymity.

According to the source, the cultivators struggled to raise the temperature inside the greenhouse, using LED lights and briquettes to ensure the conditions needed for the flower.

This 2016 video footage shows a North Korean family cultivating Kimjongilia inside a greenhouse. Screenshot from DPRK Today's YouTube channel

Residents in each province had also been forced to provide supplies for the Kimilsungia-Kimjongilia Greenhouses across the nation, so their regions could meet the assigned quota for the festival.

"Residents visited the Kimongilia Greenhouse on the (lunar) New Year's day to deliver the support materials and were surprised to see the large greenhouse was built with special glass and expensive imported equipment from abroad was installed inside it," the source said. "Residents strongly criticized the central party for spending that much foreign currency just to cultivate the flowers for the festival."

Although the North Korean government has been claiming the residents were voluntarily striving to cultivate Kimjongilia, residents and cultivators were disgusted by the statements, the source said.

Meanwhile, a large ice sculpture festival began on Sunday in Samjiyon, Ryanggang Province, near Mount Paektu, which North Korea promotes as Kim Jong-il's birthplace.

According to state media DPRK Today, Monday, officers and soldiers of the regiment of the Ministry of People's Security have spent 40 days and nights bringing in about 2,000 pieces of ice and snow weighing thousands of tons.

Last year's Ice Sculpture Festival in Samjiyon, Ryanggang Province. Screenshot from DPRK Today's YouTube channel
Jung Da-min damin.jung@koreatimes.co.kr


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