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Report: North Korea requiring Chinese residents to idolize Kims

Displays of loyalty are used to determine whether or not the foreign nationals are granted outbound visas.

By Elizabeth Shim
A Chinese maintenance worker cleans the North Korean embassy's display case in Beijing. Kim idolization is required of Chinese residents in North Korea, where as foreigners they are still required to donate money to the regime. File Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI
A Chinese maintenance worker cleans the North Korean embassy's display case in Beijing. Kim idolization is required of Chinese residents in North Korea, where as foreigners they are still required to donate money to the regime. File Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo

Feb. 3 (UPI) -- Chinese nationals living in North Korea are not exempt from Kim idolization, according to a recent report.

A source in North Hamgyong Province told Radio Free Asia Chinese citizens living in the relatively isolated country, like North Koreans, are required to show their loyalty to the Kim family.

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"Chinese are being forced to pledge allegiance to the Kim family, just like North Koreans" in the country, the source said. "Most Chinese nationals regret settling in North Korea, and hope to return to their home country."

Though they do not identify with the cult of the Kims, the Chinese community in North Korea is required to prepare "songs of loyalty" on Feb. 16 and April 15, two key holidays the state uses to trumpet the ruling family.

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Feb. 16 is the birthday of former leader Kim Jong Il, and April 15 is the birthday of North Korea founder Kim Il Sung.

Chinese citizens are also obligated to donate funds to support authorities, according to the source.

North Korea officers use the funds to gauge whether a Chinese national is participating cooperatively in political events.

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Their behavior is then used to determine whether or not the state grants them outbound visas.

A second source in South Hamgyong Province told RFA Chinese nationals must prepare a song-and-dance routine ahead of the holidays. They must also collect funds for flower baskets that can then be placed before statues of North Korean leaders.

Arbitrary state punishment is also used to brutalize Chinese citizens, the source said.

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Some Chinese were tortured even after they donated funds for flood relief in 2016.

More than 6,000 Chinese citizens reside in North Korea, according to Yonhap.

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