Mobile Phones in Sinuiju / 新义州手机管理

Good Friends (好朋友) organization reports the following news from Sinuiju:

Illegal Chinese Mobile Phones Will be Monitored in Sinuiju Throughout the Year
As of July 1st, officials in Sinuiju North Pyongan Province have been enforcing laws on users of illegal Chinese mobile phones and will continue to do so at least until the end of the year. New technology has been purchased in order to conduct the investigation. The wire tapping equipment is capable of intercepting both conversations and text messages. In addition to monitoring Chinese mobile phones, North Korean authorities have decided to supplant them by permitting the use of North Korean mobile phones, beginning October 10th.

For once, this story should be fairly easy to verify via cross-checking with Daily NK reports, since so much of Daily NK’s work is dependent on such cross-border conversations.  (I wonder if the North Koreans have asked the Chinese government to shut down the Daily NK Chinese website in China?  Because it would be very easy for the PRC to do, particularly given the loss of face that the North receives every day on the site.  You can be darned sure that the embassy in Beijing is reading the site.)

It is also true that North Korea has been moving fast to set up its own cellular networks.  However, it’s interesting that the dispatch does not assert that NK is trying to block cell phone signals coming out of their northern provinces, which would incur the serious wrath of various Chinese businessmen who are still operating with relative freedom (including, at least until recently, vists to North Korean brothels probably accompanied by North Korean cadre) on the DPRK side of the border.

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