Odyssey of Extortion: Chinese Press Coverage of the North Korean Boat Hijacking

How is it that the world beyond Beijing and Pyongyang becomes aware of Chinese-North Korean fishing disputes in the Yellow Sea? North Korea remains silent on such matters, so information is distributed almost purely through reports in mainland Chinese media–in other words, we hear about such events when Beijing needs and wants them to become known. When Chinese fishermen are harassed and detained by North Korean … Continue reading Odyssey of Extortion: Chinese Press Coverage of the North Korean Boat Hijacking

Two Unnoticed Details after the Pyongyang Apartment Collapse

As will surprise none of his regular readers, Joshua Stanton has criticized the AP for not covering the event of an apartment building collapsing in North Korea’s capitol sooner. http://freekorea.us/2014/05/18/if-a-building-falls-in-pyongyang-and-ap-doesnt-hear-it-why-the-fuck-is-it-even-there/  Stanton’s profane title notwithstanding, his post points rather to a line of inquiry that is potentially interesting: Even though “we” have a bureau in North Korea and are able to read a growing number of … Continue reading Two Unnoticed Details after the Pyongyang Apartment Collapse

The Guardian’s North Korea Network, and a Note on Journalism, Fieldwork, and Academia

The Guardian has created a new North Korea Network, of which the web journal which I edit, Sino-NK, is very much a part. Graciously, the editors in London also saw fit to endorse my Twitter feed (@adamcathcart)  as a must-follow for micro-analysis of the DPRK and its foreign relations. There are, naturally, hard limits to the Guardian‘s partnership with our website. While I was in Yanji … Continue reading The Guardian’s North Korea Network, and a Note on Journalism, Fieldwork, and Academia

North Korea and China’s Response to the UN Commission of Inquiry Report

North Korea has ever been the subject of journalistic inquiry, but in the past couple of years things seem to have hit a kind of new high point. Likewise, public consciousness in the US and Western Europe of the importance of Pyongyang’s relationship with China seems also to have taken a major leap forward. So what happens when a United Nations special report on North Korean human … Continue reading North Korea and China’s Response to the UN Commission of Inquiry Report

Mao Zedong and Korean War Propaganda: Nianpu Notes, Jan. 1951 (2)

New sources published in Beijing this past December give us further insight into Mao Zedong’s multifarious activities and ongoing strategic activities with respect to the Korean War. In addition to covering in some detail Mao’s active policy direction for the Campaign to Suppress Counterrevolutionaries, the consolidation of Tibet, and land reform, the Mao Zedong Nianpu (Chronology) discuss information operations in and around Korea. Given the kind of … Continue reading Mao Zedong and Korean War Propaganda: Nianpu Notes, Jan. 1951 (2)

“Spit at the American Gentlemen” : North Korean State Media Rolls Out the Welcome Mat for Google

A short article released on January 10 in Pyongyang was fairly enervating, though no news media outlet seems to have picked it up yet. Nor, as Daniel Pinkston has pointed out already, has any Western media picked up on any of Pyongyang’s bellicose statements before, during, or after the Google visit. That’s an awfully odd way to report (or, more accurately, not report) on a country. Near the end … Continue reading “Spit at the American Gentlemen” : North Korean State Media Rolls Out the Welcome Mat for Google

Algorithms of Revolution and Control in Pyongyang and Guangzhou

An American entrepreneur arrives at the doorstep of a system that clearly sees digitization as a tool of social control.  North Korea is, as one wise man howled from the back of a long socialist queue, “hell bent on controlling the market and its digital trappings.” So what is Eric Schmidt doing in the Democratic People’s Republic of Firewall? And is it really obligatory for us to cheer … Continue reading Algorithms of Revolution and Control in Pyongyang and Guangzhou