SEOUL — Most national governments couldn’t care less about anti-state graffiti in their cities.
A visitor looks a North Korean-style classroom where portraits of North Korean founder Kim Il-sung, top left, and his son and current leader of the North Kim Jong-il are hung, at the Unification Observation Platform, just south of the demilitarized zone (DMZ) separating the two Koreas in Paju, on Nov. 13.
But in North Korea, party and security officials regard criticism of "Dear Leader" Kim Jong-Il as unthinkable and intolerable. Politically incorrect graffiti artists can be sent to the gulag for hard labor or even sentenced to death.
Despite the high risk, the appearance of graffiti and leaflets defaming the state and ridiculing Kim are on the rise, according to North Korean sources.
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In early October, leaflets denouncing county party officials were found posted on the windows and gates in Kwaksan County in the North Hamkyong Province. The leaflets denounced corruption by a county party official and charged him with betraying the people by blindly flattering Kim Jong-Il.
What alarmed the party organization in the province was that the leaflets not only failed to use terms of endearment for Kim Jong-Il but also used the term "flattery" instead of "loyalty."
Sources said that at least three types of leaflets have been spotted in the province during the past three months. Some found in markets in bigger nearby towns called on the people to rise against the "Dictator Kim Jong-Il." An investigation into the origin of the leaflets was unsuccessful.