Eyes on the DPRK: Samples from the People’s Daily Series

*Note: People’s Daily Online, a Chinese newspaper, has a series called Eyes on the DPRK. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, commonly known as North Korea, is a socialist state that tolerates no interference from the outside world, and as such heavily controls what the West can access in their country.

The DPRK has friendly relations with China, however, and therefore Chinese media has access to North Korea that the West does not. The Red Hammer is giving readers a sample of some of the photos that People’s Daily has provided of life in the DPRK. We hope it will serve to challenge some of the worst, most ridiculous myths about socialist Korea.

Night-time photo of Pyongyang, capital of North Korea. Anti-DPRK propaganda states that this city shuts down entirely at night, turning off all of their lights and plunging the city into darkness.

Ignoring that energy conservation is not a bad thing, we can see in this photo that indeed the city stays lit after the sun falls. Apartment buildings, like the ones on the lower left of the photo, clearly show rooms where people have their lights on.

Photo showing a complex of high-rise apartment buildings in Pyongyang. Again, not only are all the lights on at night, but clearly some amount of modern technology went into these buildings. This is in contrast to the portrayal of the DPRK as a country with a broken or non-existent economy.

A refreshment stand in Pyongyang. Like people all over the world, north Koreans like to enjoy a nice stroll in the park, and may get hungry or thirst doing so. Public spaces in the DPRK are not, in fact, all barren and decrepit.

Local women in Pyongyang walk the streets wearing modern, dignified attire. This is daily life in a country supposedly mired in poverty and suffering under an omnipresent and bloodthirsty dictatorship.

At the demarcation line between the DPRK and south Korea, a DPRK poster calls for the unification of Korea. The DPRK has been pursuing a policy of peaceful reunification for almost its entire existence.

North Koreans enjoy much the same leisure and recreation that Westerners do. Here, at a wedding, a small group gathers to watch a friendly arm wrestling competition.

An older residential building in Pyongyang under renovation. The DPRK government has made upgrading and improving the quality of life of every Korean an official policy for decades.

A photo of Pyongyang’s tramcar. Public transportation is high on the DPRK government’s priorities.

The streets of Pyongyang just after rainfall. Note the rows of ostensibly moderate-quality apartment buildings, not unlike those in the West.

Anti-DPRK propaganda often mocks the country’s lack of automobiles. Largely due to imperialist encirclement and blockade, the DPRK has been unable to import or produce automobiles for all of its citizens, and only some have access to those that have been brought in. Chinese-DPRK trade, however, has been on the rise, and China is becoming a leading producer of cars.

A photo from International Children’s Day in Pyongyang. One can see two carts, a large trailer in the background, and a microphone, demonstrating that north Koreans are not completely deprived of access to technology.

Well-dressed, happy and not-evidently starving north Korean children at International Children’s Day. Perhaps north Koreans are not totally miserable and oppressed…

As a socialist country, the DPRK is strongly dedicated to the advancement of women. Women are not barred from education, employment, or the opportunity to reach the upper levels of leadership in their country.

The DPRK has adopted the Songun policy, roughly translated as “military-first”, in response to over sixty years of threats from the United States and their Korean proxies in the south. The Korean People’s Army, however, is not like the imperialist militaries of the West – recruits are expected to perform public services throughout their time in the military. Construction work is known to be popular with KPA soldiers.

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