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Rights team says no change in North Korea

Rights team says no change in North Korea
Egyptian police supresses people's demonstration for democracy (courtesy of Gwangju Humanrights Peace Foundation)
Stephen Hong, Seoul

March 4, 2011

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The so-called jasmine revolution in parts of the Arab world will not influence North Korea, a seminar weighing the possibility of a democratization movement in North Korea forecast yesterday. Kim Young-hwan, researcher of the Network for North Korean Democracy and Human Rights, which held the seminar at the Korea Press Center, noted the North has been thoroughly shut off from all outside contact. Kim said in his presentation that the communist country has not been influenced even by religions. He said the 'jasmine revolution' has some traits that the countries in the Arab world have been communicating each other through social networks and influenced by Islam, "the very strong religion" which is "the pivotal role of unity." Kim added that North Korean authorities' high ability to control its people also contributes to "almost impossible democratization movement in the country." Another presenter, An Chan-il, director of the Research Center for North Korea, told the participants that since the North has purged the opposition forces there has not remained any element that could resist its dictatorship. But An, a North Korean refugee, expected that business people in the North who had once resisted the currency reforms in 2009 could be a catalyst for change. Father John Baptist Kim Hun-il, executive secretary of the Korean bishops’subcommittee for aid to North Korea, said “the uprisings in the Middle East will not happen in North Korea because its government always keeps a close watch on its people.” KO13511.1643

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