N.Koreans Gloat Over Scuffles in National Assembly

Senior North Korean officials last month enjoyed an hour of edited footage from clashes in South Korea's National Assembly. Some 300 top officials gathered at the People's Palace of Culture in Pyongyang in early October to watch the show.

A senior source in North Korea said the video showed scenes familiar to audiences around the world of South Korean lawmakers destroying National Assembly facilities with a hammer and an electric chain saw or kicking each other.

A voiceover provided pithy commentary. "Former President Roh Moo-hyun committed suicide because the traitor Lee Myung-bak harassed him," it said. "South Korea is in chaos," and "South Koreans don't support Lee Myung-bak."

Events at the People's Palace of Culture are reportedly open only to bureau chiefs or higher-level officials from central government agencies. They often feature special films to supply them with information about the international community or South Korea.

One North Korean who recently visited China quoted senior officials as commenting, "South Korean lawmakers went too far" or "Too much freedom is problematic."

The screenings are for propaganda purposes, but ordinary North Koreans never get to look at footage of South Korea at all.

A former senior North Korean official said, "Senior officials are believed to understand what they see, but showing the South Korean National Assembly or people protesting could cause unrest" among ordinary North Koreans. So the North Korean authorities never show such scenes on TV and only report them verbally or in text, he added.

englishnews@chosun.com / Nov. 10, 2009 09:47 KST