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Foul thing
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Barbara Demick, "NOTHING TO ENVY: Ordinary Lives in North Korea".

Over the past few years, the Workers’ Party has issued a succession of ridiculous rules with no apparent purpose other than to squeeze the natural workings of the market economy. They have banned all vendors except for women aged forty and over; all the men and younger women are supposed to be reporting to their jobs in state-owned factories, no matter that the factories can’t pay wages. There are increasing restrictions on what can be bought and sold. Special police roam the markets and confiscate all the now-illegal products. Along with rice and corn, soybeans have been banned from the market with the absurd explanation that they might be taken into China and resold to the enemy in South Korea. The party has issued prohibitions against Chinese toiletries (claiming they cause blisters) and Chinese snack foods (claiming they cause stomach ailments). The more fashionable clothing brought in from China has been banned on the grounds that it is too flashy and antisocialist.

If there is no plausible excuse, the party has said simply that people shouldn’t buy products “made in China” because they need to support their own North Korean goods. “We’re supposed to be buying North Korean products instead of Chinese. But North Korea doesn’t make anything—it all comes from China—so there is nothing to buy,” said a frustrated North Korean businessman I interviewed in China in 2009. “Our general wants to bring back socialism the way it used to be.”

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