Civil Liberties

Ronery Reading


According to The Daily NK, there is a secret library in Pyongyang where party cadre can read the works of Milton Friedman, John Meynard Keynes, Dale Carnegie, and Boccaccio. This replaces the more restrictive system established by the "May 25 Instruction" of 1967, in which most

books on western literature and philosophy have been burnt or smeared with ink, or pages have been torn out of books. Such vandalism was carried out under the so called "Book Arrangement Activity." For some time thereafter, the general public had no access to books, even to those related to Karl Marx.

"Pyongyang Foreign Literature Publishing House" began to publish foreign books in 1984. From then on, the western classics in literature were made available. However, books on modern economics and modern thought are accessible only to the Party officials or some special groups at the "closed library."

It's virtually impossible to confirm the stories you hear about North Korea, so this hidden stash of western literature might be as fictional as the Vatican's vast library of porn. But I like to think there's a secret remnant in the Korean communist establishment, quietly absorbing the subversive lessons of How to Win Friends and Influence People.

[Via Knife Tricks.]