North Korea wants to give candies to kids for Kim Jong Un’s birthday, but it’s making its citizens pay to produce them: report



A worker stands behind a factory conveyor belt that transports cakes

A worker stands before a machine on a production line for “Taeha” brand cakes at the Unha Taesong Foodstuff Factory in Pyongyang on April 6, 2021.KIM WON JIN/AFP via Getty Images

  • North Korea is making residents pay for sweets to give children on Kim Jong Un’s birthday, RFA reported.

  • Surging prices amid a food shortage this year led officials to impose a tax on candy ingredients.

  • The sweets are a long-time tradition for the Kims’ birthdays.

Local governments in North Korea are requiring that citizens pay for candy ingredients as the country rushes to manufacture sweets in time for dictator Kim Jong Un’s birthday, Radio Free Asia reported, citing two unnamed local sources.

Officials in some areas have imposed a tax on each household so their governments can buy raw confectionary ingredients, such as flour and sugar, one source from North Pyongan Province told RFA.

The source said that families in some regions have also been asked to donate an egg to the candy-making effort, resulting in egg shortages in markets.

North Koreans are not happy about being asked to chip in, a source told RFA.

“Residents are angry that the authorities are wiping out the pockets of the people at a time like this to make candy for children, supposedly from Kim Jong Un for his birthday,” they said.

Each province is responsible for producing and distributing the sweets, the outlet reported.

The “birthday candy” tradition dates back to the rule of Kim Il Sung, the regime’s first dictator and Kim’s grandfather, who died in 1994, according to DailyNK. Children receive candy on April 15, Kim Il Sung’s birthday, and Kim Jong Il’s birthday on February 16. Kim Jong Un’s birthday falls on January 8 (though there is dispute about what year).

This past April, families started selling the gifted treats they received for Kim Il Sung’s birthday, per Daily NK, as the country faces a devastating food crisis that even Kim admitted is “tense.”

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