By Elise Choi
Modern North Korean propaganda is reminiscent of China under Mao Zedong, particularly the cultural revolution of the 1960s and 1970s.
North Korea and China share similarities: both are rooted in traditional Confucianism and more modern Marxist philosophy; both have had cult of personality leaders whose faces adorned buildings and made unsound economic decisions leading to the starvation of millions. Both use a distinctive communist propaganda style – bold red with thick block lettering over idyllic pastoral life.
In modern Pyongyang, though the most obvious is the smiling portraits of former leaders Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il, the country uses a wide range of media to define itself, including posters, music, murals and art to promote Juche (the political ideology of Kim II-sung that promotes self-reliance), military rights and devotion to the country.
Slogans on buildings and posters in Pyongyang encourage patriotism and loyalty, such as “The U.S. is truly an axis of evil” and “Let’s develop Pyongyang, the capital city of revolution, into a world-class city.”
On state-controlled television, people wring their hands and weep for the plight of their country.
One reason North Korea continues with the propaganda is that Kim Jong-un, who has been supreme leader for three years, is worried about his power. He wants to eliminate those who are against the regime, a North Korea defector reported.
But although North Koreans have no legal access to the outside world, do people still believe the propaganda? One North Korean defector says about half of people inside believe it.
The slogan says “Be strong! Let’s build a strong country.” Similar banners stand all over Pyongyang.
“Choson-labor party is the best!” Choson is the old name for the dynasty of Korea that ruled for five centuries. North Koreans still use it.