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In North Hamgyong Province, the number of residents visiting markets has decreased by 80%… Why?

▲Marketplace in Hoeryeong-si, North Hamgyong Province, North Korea, taken in May 2023. (The marketplace is empty) Photo = NK Times

Recently, it has been reported that the number of residents visiting markets in North Hamgyong Province has decreased by 80%. Sources said that the market was in great danger as the number of residents visiting the market decreased significantly. [This is an English test]

A source from North Hamgyong Province told NK Times on the 28th, “Recently, the number of residents visiting the market in Musan County has decreased significantly.” He added, “Where hundreds of people used to come to the market each day to buy products, it is now difficult to see even a dozen people, and the market is paralyzed.” “I went,” he said.

According to sources, the number of residents visiting the market in Musan-gun from early May to June 27 decreased by more than 80% compared to the same time last year.

For example, while the average number of residents visiting the market in May and June last year was about 100 per day, this year the number is less than half, less than 20. The source explained that this figure is five times lower than the time when market usage hours were restricted and residents’ movement was restricted due to the COVID-19 incident.

Regarding this phenomenon, the source said, firstly, residents’ pockets are empty due to the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus outbreak, and secondly, since June 1st to the end of July is the general mobilization period for weeding, residents who are tired from a day’s work are unable to visit the market. was pointed out as the cause.

Third, during the busy farming season, party organizations and labor organizations mobilize party members and workers to support rural areas, while the Ministry of Social Security cracks down on residents in various aspects, including movement of residents and street trading, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the rural support period. Strengthening control was cited as the reason.

The source said, “Until April, the number of people who came to look at the stalls on average even if they did not buy anything reached hundreds of people a day, but as you enter Onewol Borigogae, it is difficult to see more than a dozen residents coming to buy goods.” He added, “The current situation continues. “If this happens, merchants will have to close their stalls and leave,” he said.

This situation is also true in Onseong-gun.

A resident source in Onseong-gun, North Hamgyong Province, told the NK Times on the 28th, “These days, perhaps because it is the rural mobilization period, there are really no people visiting the market. There are even many merchants who have not been able to sell a single product for over 20 days.”

The source continued, “Until mid-April, when you entered the market, the streets were filled with people, but now you can only see the sellers and products, and it’s amazing to see people coming to buy things.” He added, “If business is not good enough, the industry ( “In the case of merchants selling communist products, they spread out their products and walk around for hours,” he said.

At the same time, he said, “Currently, merchants who do business with stalls in the marketplace have an economic advantage over ordinary office workers. However, if the current situation continues where it is difficult to even pay market (market) taxes, many merchants will give up on business and open their stalls.” “I have no choice but to do it,” he added.

***This article is a translation based on ChatGPT, so it may not match our NK Times Korean content.

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