NEW HRNK REPORT HIGHLIGHTS THE TRANSMISSION OF OFFICIAL INFORMATION ALONG THE (NORTH) KOREAN PEOPLE’S ARMY (KPA)’S CHAIN OF COMMAND AS WELL AS THE SURREPTITIOUS CONSUMPTION OF INFORMATION FROM THE OUTSIDE WORLD
THE REPORT IS AVAILABLE AS A PDF FILE THROUGH HRNK’S WEBSITE: https://www.hrnk.org/uploads/pdfs/Hutchinson_KPA_web_0426.pdf
WASHINGTON, APRIL 26, 2022. The Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK) releases today a comprehensive study scrutinizing the circulation of information within the KPA. George Hutchinson’s Army of the Indoctrinated: The Suryong, the Soldier, and Information in the KPA is the second of three installments in a multi-year HRNK project to examine North Korea’s information environment.
Since the humanitarian crisis of the 1990s, more information from the outside world has been entering North Korea, following the informal markets and supply lines established from the Sino-North Korean border to the capital city of Pyongyang. The North Korean regime has been cracking down on such information and has been suppressing those accessing it, especially since early 2020, under the pretext of COVID prevention.
Understanding how KPA soldiers receive their information is needed to prepare information campaigns while taking into account all possible contingencies. The report examines official propaganda and indoctrination delivered to North Korean soldiers, all along the chain of control and command. The report also examines the media vehicles and content that reach North Korean soldiers, in particular those forward-deployed south of the Pyongyang-Wonsan line, who constitute 70 to 80 percent of the KPA.
Author George Hutchinson assures readers that “Army of the Indoctrinated contains insights, findings, and recommendations based on research and in-depth interviews with former KPA soldiers that explain how information is processed and consumed in the KPA.” According to Hutchinson, “the report provides analysts, strategists and other policy practitioners an important piece to the puzzle of North Korea’s information environment vital for the development of contingency planning.”
HRNK Director of Operations and Research Raymond Ha states: “As the international community contends with the serious security concerns posed by North Korea’s ever-advancing nuclear and ballistic missile capabilities, it is more important than ever to grasp the day-to-day lives of the men and women who make up the KPA. To anticipate how they may react in a range of potential contingencies, it is first necessary to assess what they can and cannot perceive, based on the official and unofficial information they have at their disposal. Army of the Indoctrinated makes a vital contribution in this regard.”
North Korean escapee and HRNK Social Media Associate Doohyun Kim points out: “This report describes in great detail information circulation in North Korea, which is completely isolated from the outside, especially the information circulation and command system of the North Korean military. Through this report, you can learn the way North Korean soldiers consume outside information even under the strict control of the North Korean government, and the quantity and quality of information accessible between classes differ greatly.”
According to HRNK Executive Director Greg Scarlatoiu, “lack of access to vital information about both domestic and international developments can spell disaster in case of a Korean peninsula contingency.” Scarlatoiu adds: “The report provides material needed to understand the human rights situation of KPA soldiers, in particular their access to information. The report also helps prepare for armed conflict and/or regime collapse, to avoid catastrophe induced by lack of information, but also to sustain internal resistance, if needed, to provide lines of emergency communication outside regime control, and to prepare for complex humanitarian emergencies.”
The report launch and presentation by George Hutchinson will be held via Zoom virtual conference, from 6 pm to 7 pm Eastern, on Tuesday, April 26. Greg Scarlatoiu, HRNK Executive Director, will moderate.
Please click on this link to RSVP for the event.
If you are unable to participate, a video recording will be made available on HRNK’s YouTube channel after the event.
The report release is ON-THE-RECORD. For media inquiries, please contact Greg Scarlatoiu at [email protected].
HRNK was founded in 2001 as a nonprofit research organization dedicated to documenting human rights conditions in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), as North Korea is formally known. Visit www.hrnk.org to find out more.
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