North Korean Leader Reportedly Gives Candy to all of the Country's Kids

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Jan. 7 2013 2:27 PM

Kim Jong Un Gives 2 Pounds of Candy to All North Korean Kids To Mark Birthday, Says State Media

149207206
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reportedly worked hard to make sure all children under 10 received the candy

Photo by KNS/AFP/Getty Images.

Despite continued famine in the country, North Korea leader Kim Jong Un gave 2 pounds of candy to every child in the country in honor of his Jan. 8 birthday, according to a report from state media. In other words, the story is probably fictional.

As Chosun Ilbo explains, leaders' birthdays are traditionally marked in the dictatorship with gifts (or reports of gifts) of food and other needed goods. But the quality and quantity of those gifts have, unsurprisingly, been in decline at least in recent years in the country.

Advertisement

Here's a description of the Santa Claus-like feat of logistics from the AFP, which wrote a straight-laced version of the story:

A radio report by the North Korean Central Broadcasting Station, monitored in Seoul on Monday, said Kim had mobilised aircraft to ensure that each child in the country aged 10 or under received the candy gift in time.
Villagers in outlying islands "exploded with joy" at the confectionery airlift, the report said.
The giving of "birthday candy" was started in 1980 by Kim's grandfather and North Korea's founding leader Kim Il-Sung.

According to the World Food Program, 1 in 3 children in North Korea are chronically "stunted" by poor nutrition. The country has regularly struggled to feed its own population (and relies on foreign food aid) since about 1 million people died in North Korea from hunger-related causes during a severe famine from 1994-1998.

Abby Ohlheiser is a Slate contributor.

TODAY IN SLATE

Culturebox

The End of Pregnancy

And the inevitable rise of the artificial womb.

Doctor Tests Positive for Ebola in New York City

How a Company You’ve Never Heard of Took Control of the Entire Porn Industry

The Hot New Strategy for Desperate Democrats

Blame China for everything.

The Questions That Michael Brown’s Autopsies Can’t Answer

Foreigners

Kiev Used to Be an Easygoing Place

Now it’s descending into madness.

Technology

Don’t Just Sit There

How to be more productive during your commute.

There Has Never Been a Comic Book Character Like John Constantine

Which Came First, the Word Chicken or the Word Egg?

  News & Politics
The Slate Quiz
Oct. 24 2014 12:10 AM Play the Slate News Quiz With Jeopardy! superchampion Ken Jennings.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 23 2014 5:53 PM Amazon Investors Suddenly Bearish on Losing Money
  Life
Outward
Oct. 23 2014 5:08 PM Why Is an Obscure 1968 Documentary in the Opening Credits of Transparent?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 23 2014 11:33 AM Watch Little Princesses Curse for the Feminist Cause
  Slate Plus
Working
Oct. 23 2014 11:28 AM Slate’s Working Podcast: Episode 2 Transcript Read what David Plotz asked Dr. Meri Kolbrener about her workday.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 23 2014 6:55 PM A Goodfellas Actor Sued The Simpsons for Stealing His Likeness. Does He Have a Case?
  Technology
Technology
Oct. 23 2014 11:47 PM Don’t Just Sit There How to be more productive during your commute.
  Health & Science
Science
Oct. 23 2014 5:42 PM Seriously, Evolution: WTF? Why I love the most awkward, absurd, hacked-together species.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.