PYONGYANG, North Korea – A generational divide is quietly growing in North Korea, often hidden behind relentless propaganda.
Young people have come to expect nothing from a regime whose rulers have been worshipped as all-powerful providers. Their lives, from professional aspirations to dating habits, are increasingly shaped by a growing market economy and thriving underground trade in smuggled TV shows and music. Political fervor once genuinely felt is supplanted by a fierce belief in money.
The Associated Press spoke with more than two dozen North Korean refugees, along with scholars, former government officials and activists. It found that North Korean youth are increasingly unmoored from the powerful ideology the government long ago placed at the center of every life. One refugee says that when leader Kim Jong Un speaks, young people don't listen.