Changing China

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from Global News Journal:

North Korea’s Great Leader knew his cabbage

One of the primary aims of North Korea’s propaganda machine is to show its founder Kim Il-sung and current leader Kim Jong-il as all-knowing, parent-like (and at times god-like) figures who devote themselves entirely to bettering the lives of every citizen of the state.

Kim Il-sung, known as the "Great Leader" is also the eternal president of the state formed at the start of the Cold War. His son Kim Jong-il, who took over when his father died in 1994, is known as the "Dear Leader."

The reality of course is quite different. While the Kim family basks in riches, North Koreans are some of the poorest people in North Asia, who are threatened with famine due to a lack of food in a state that several have criticised for having one of the world’s worst human rights records.

North Korea's state media from time to time runs stories about events that had taken place several years ago, even decades sometimes, to reinforce the message that its leaders have shown great concern for all the people.

from Global News Journal:

How Ill is Kim Jong-il?

Photo:A compilation by Reuters of pool photographs and images provided by North Korea's KCNA news agency showing North Korean leader Kim Jong-il from 2004 to 2009. The photograph in the lower right was released this week by KCNA

By Jon Herskovitz

The image the world once had of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, with a trademark paunch, platform shoes and a bouffant hair-do, is gone and may never come back. He has now become a gaunt figure with thinning hair who has trouble walking in normal shoes, let alone ones with heels 8-10 centimetres (3-4 inches) high like he used to wear.