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20 February 2009

N. Koreans savor taste of open marketplace

By Paul Wiseman, USA TODAY

North Korea would seem like the least likely place on Earth for a rebellion, even a very modest one. Yet that's what appears to be happening, albeit on a small scale, as totalitarian leader Kim Jong Il tries to roll back some of the capitalist-style economic changes that he allowed earlier this decade — and his beleaguered people refuse to let him.

"People are now standing up," says Erica Kang, director of the non-governmental aid organization Good Friends.

Kang said the decision to crack down on private trading reveals the isolation of the country's communist elite, tucked comfortably away in what she calls the "Republic of Pyongyang" — a different country from the one of daily misery and food shortages inhabited by ordinary North Koreans. "Central party officials don't know reality," she said. For them, communist "ideology always wins over reality."

[When the people finally "stand up" all the way it won't be pretty for Kimmy. - Sarge]

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