Since the beginning of new leader Kim Jong Un’s reign, the regime's control over its population has increased. More focus has been put on border control with increased crackdowns on defectors, increased restrictions on the use of Chinese cell phones, tighter border patrols, as well as stricter regulation of markets and movements.
North Korea has announced the 12 days following the death of Kim Jong Il as a formal mourning period and closed the markets the markets. To settle the rising concern among the increasingly agitated public, basic trading was allowed in specified markets but the system has not yet returned to normal conditions.
An source inside Pyongyang said "Tight market regulations continue to this day, even after the end of morning period." The source added "Since most people rely on the markets to earn their daily income, their resentment towards the authorities is increasing."
While a state loyalty campaign for Kim Jong Un was carried out, the people’s movement was also more strictly regulated.
A Daily NK report cited an inner source from South Hamkyung province in saying that the the entire population “including organizations, corporations, students, officials, and people’s army” were dispatched to the rural areas and that during this period, classes were suspended and students were deployed for over 40 days.
The source continued “you could be exempted from labor with bribes in the past, but not anymore, not under Kim Jong Un.”
Meanwhile, the use of foreign currency was suspended out of respect for the deceased Kim Jong Il. When the regulation was loosened, circulation of foreign currency returned to normal state.
A North Korean entrepreneur visiting his relatives in China said “We expected a better future with Kim Jong Un, but we only to face tighter market regulations. I do not expect more from the regime and hope they at least let us freely do our business.”