North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un has reportedly issued a covert directive banning suicide, labeling it as “treason against socialism” and demanding local governments take preventive measures.
The move comes in response to a concerning increase in suicide rates among North Korean citizens. According to Radio Free Asia (RFA), the South Korean National Intelligence Service reported a 40% increase in suicides at the end of May compared to last year.
“There are a lot of internal unrest factors in North Korea due to the hardships of people,” according to the spy agency. They also added that as people struggle to survive, violent crimes are also on the rise.
According to information from an anonymous official from the northeastern province of North Hamgyong, the secret suicide prevention order was communicated in emergency meetings held in each province at the provincial, city, and county levels.
A meeting at the North Hamgyong recorded 35 suicide cases in Chongjin and nearby Kyongsong county this year alone, often involving entire families choosing to end their lives together.
While starvation deaths in North Korea have tripled in the past year, the meeting in Ryanggang province revealed that suicide has had an even greater social impact, surpassing the consequences of severe hunger.
“Despite the suicide prevention policy ratified by the General Secretary, the officials were not able to come up with an appropriate solution,” an unnamed Ryanggang official told RFA. “Most of the suicides were caused by severe poverty and starvation, so no one can come up with a countermeasure right now.”
“Family suicide is a final act of defiance against a hopeless system,” he added.
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