Tears over Kim Jong-il's death are not fake
It is no surprise to find people shedding tears over the passing of a dictator, but what may surprise is that some of the tears shed are spontaneous.
Paju/Beijing: In tightly controlled North Korea where the ruling Kim family is a centerpiece of everyday life, it is no surprise to find people shedding tears over the passing of a dictator, but what may surprise is that some of the tears shed are spontaneous.
North Korea, an impoverished state of 25 million people, stages annual mass gymnastic events featuring tens of thousands of people. Some who were there at the time Kim Jong-il's death was announced on Monday said that while grieving was coordinated, there were also individual outbursts.
"It is as if your father had died. They cried themselves blind," said Kim Dong-soo, a South Korean worker at a kitchen utensil maker at a joint South-North venture in the Kaesong Industrial Complex in North Korea.
"Today is also full of tears. They can't even speak a word," he said as he crossed back into South Korea.
At Beijing Airport, grim-faced North Koreans, some carrying white chrysanthemums — a flower of mourning —and foreigners told of a nation grieving deeply over the death of their 69-year-old "Dear Leader".
One Chinese man arriving in Beijing, who declined to be named, said he was at a village for a farming project about 100 km (62 miles) outside Pyongyang when loudspeakers called people for a special announcement at noon on Monday.
"Every village has speakers like that, and everyone was very orderly as they gathered around them," said the man, who would not give his name. "Everyone started crying very loudly."
Kim Jong-il's bier was placed in the mausoleum on Tuesday where the embalmed body of founding father Kim Il-sung is displayed in a glass sarcophagus.
Britain's top diplomatic official presently in Pyongyang, Barnaby Jones, the British Embassy's first secretary, told a press conference in Seoul by telephone that the situation in the North Korean capital was subdued and calm.
"In most places across the city, you are not seeing crowds, but large groups," he said.
At the time of the death of Kim Il-sung, the founding father of North Korea, tens of thousands of people wept openly in the streets in an outpouring of grief.
A Chinese student arriving from Pyongyang said she also witnessed scenes of a grieving populace like those seen on state-run television.
"You could see they were real tears," said Wang Haoyan, who attends Kim Il-sung University. "People greatly respected Kim Jong-il, and would stand straight at attention when applauding him."
Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.
North Korea defies coronavirus with huge military parade, celebrates ruling party's anniversary amid economic woes
Pyongyang closed its borders eight months ago to try to protect itself from the virus, which first emerged in neighbouring China, and has yet to confirm a single case
Donald Trump says Sudan to be removed from terror list if it fulfills $335 million compensation pledge
Sudan has agreed to pay compensation for victims of the 1998 bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, attacks conducted by Osama bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda network while he was living in Sudan
Kim Jong-un unveils new ICBM at military parade, says North Korea will continue to strengthen the war deterrent
The size of the new missile indicated that it might be able to fly farther and carry a more powerful nuclear warhead, South Korean, and other analysts said, although it has never been flight-tested