SEOUL, May 11 (UPI) -- Activities in North Korea's gray markets have resumed their normal levels after the closing of the Seventh Party Congress, and ordinary North Koreans are expressing their relief.
The end of the national event that culminated in the appointment of Kim Jong Un as the Workers' Party chairman has also meant the removal of party flags and propaganda banners around the country, according to a North Korea source who spoke to South Korean news service Daily NK on the condition of anonymity.
"The doors to the gray markets have been reopened, and people can now return to their trade," the source said.
Many public activities had been banned during the congress, but now children are "free to play outside," and women can be seen washing clothes again along the Yalu River, the source said.
For ordinary North Koreans, the congress held little significance.
Another North Korean man in his 30s who spoke to Japan-based Asia Press by phone said the purpose of the congress was unclear.
"No idea what the party members are doing, or whether they have anything to do," the source said.
The North Korean interviewee who spoke anonymously also said that the government should stop cracking down on private businesses and extorting money from traders.
"If they couldn't feed us...then let us live without control, we can eat cooked white rice and meat soup by ourselves. People are not idiots. They can make a living by themselves," the source said.
The Workers' Party, once a prestigious organization, is now falling out of favor with large segments of the population because the party is not providing substantial welfare, Daily NK reported.
Their propaganda is no longer persuasive, a source in Yanggang Province said.
The congress was likely heavily promoted to revive support for the regime.
Kim Jong Un has purged nearly 100 officials since assuming power, but could be trying to bolster loyalty among others.
According to Seoul's unification ministry, one out of four Workers' Party Executive Committee members were promoted, including Foreign Minister Ri Su Yong.