Starvation and depreciating living standards are prompting North Koreans to demand freedom from the dictatorship, an emboldened act for the country’s cowed populace. Evidence documenting the “rising tide of discontent” and residents’ struggle to survive has been videotaped by a small group of undercover citizen journalists, who smuggle the footage across the border to China at the risk of execution. A truck driver who goes by the pseudonym Kim Dong-Cheol has been supplying some of the tapes. He says that since the government’s disastrous attempt to reform its currency last year, homelessness and suicides are on the rise. Protest fliers and graffiti with slogans like “Open up and reform” are becoming increasingly common. “The authorities no longer command the fear and respect of the people,” Jiro Ishimaru, editor of Asiapress International told the Telegraph. “That’s an enormous change that is taking place in North Korea.”
Two clips show a troublesome picture of the daily life in North Korea. In the first, an emaciated orphan scavenges for grass to feed her animals, with no food for herself. In the second, a woman fights with a uniformed police officer who demands a bribe in order for her to board the truck that takes her to work. Meanwhile, the country’s supreme leader is more concerned with placating his hawkish generals, refusing to rejoin talks to curb North Korea’s nuclear program in exchange for reduced sanctions and aid.