The Manchurian Myth: History and Power in North Korea
As the smoke clears from Kaesong and succession talk swirls around Kim Yo-jong, Sino-NK revisits one of the key foundations of North Korean history education.
The Short Arm of the Law: Sanctions and North Korean Laborers in Russia
Anthony Rinna examines the stark reality that it is not clear who is available to replace exports of North Korean labor in Russia, making it hard to imagine the Russian government weaning itself off them.
Voices from the Black Box: 1987, the Social Democratic Party, and Protection of Human Rights
The DPRK human rights discourse is dominated by the many victims of Kimist state power. Whether for better or worse, this certainly leaves limited space for other perspectives to be aired. Here, Martin Weiser outlines evidence of a domestic debate surrounding human rights protection dating back to the late 1980s.
Purges, Baekdu, and the Moranbong Band: Data Points around General Hyon
Using music as a medium, Adam Cathcart takes the field of debate regarding the alleged purge and execution of Hyon Yong-chol into the ultra-politicized realm of concert halls and power stations.
Communist Normalcy: How Authoritarian Leaders Disappear and Return
Kim Jong-un has now made a handful of public appearances since ending his 40+ days out of the public eye, and it appears clear that the young leader’s health was a major cause of his absence. This came as no surprise to analyst Nick Miller.
New Era, New Challenges: North Korea Analysis on Virgin Soil
We have more information now than ever before on the politics of the North Korean leadership. Using insights from the the politics of authoritarianism literature, this essay suggests the need for a robust framework of analysis to meet the challenges of the new era.
Hagiography of the Kims and the Childhood of Saints: Kim Jong-il
Christopher Richardson examines the mythological narrative of Kim Jong-il’s genesis, uncovering the carefully constructed combination of religion, half-truths, and state propaganda.
“Victory Day,” the Canonization of Kim Jong-il, and North Korean Succession Politics
Why did the North Korean commemorations of the July 27, 1953 Armistice dwell so heavily on Kim Jong-il, who was just a child during the Korean War? Adam Cathcart investigates how shifting histories in Pyongyang are laying the groundwork for ongoing succession narratives for the present leader.
Justifying Hereditary Succession in North Korea
Is the succession process to Kim Jong-un complete, or still very much in train? Sino-NK’s chief editor analyzes a recently-unearthed speech by the supreme leader.