N.Korea Orders People Home for Kim Jong-il's Birthday

      February 15, 2012 12:13

      North Korea has apparently ordered people studying or working abroad to return home by Thursday to mark the birthday of dead leader Kim Jong-il. The Daily NK, a website specializing in news about the isolated country, on Tuesday said the regime told North Koreans in China to come back.

      The Daily NK quoted a North Korean working in Shenyang, China as saying, "Some North Koreans including students in China have already headed home. Those who can't afford to go back plan at least to send gifts or flowers."

      According to the worker, the North is now ordering people home because fewer people than expected came back to attend Kim’s funeral late last year. The regime is apparently giving North Koreans abroad one more chance to demonstrate their allegiance, promising to waive any punishment for failing to come back for Kim’s funeral and pledging not to confiscate their belongings.

      But experts believe the North is trying to collect cash from expatriates. The North Korean worker in Shenyang told the Daily NK, "Because it isn't clear whether the order came from the Worker's Party or from Kim Jong-un, high-ranking officials in Pyongyang may be trying to pad their pockets by recalling students and workers living overseas."

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