North Korea’s dictator Kim Jong Un, as part of an increasing crackdown on internal dissent and defection, is forcing citizens who live or travel to areas near the Chinese border to sign a pledge saying they won’t try to escape.
North Koreans already need special permits to travel within the country. Now people who want to travel anywhere near the Chinese border will face even more draconian red tape if they have business or a family event like weddings or funerals to attend in the border areas, according to Radio Free Asia’s Korean Service.
“Since early this month, residents who need travel certificates to go to the border areas must submit a document with their fingerprint on it confirming they will never defect from North Korea,” a resident of North Hamgyong province told the radio service.
“Citizens used to be allowed to verbally declare they had no plans to defect, and get inter-provincial travel passes by showing a certificate