8 July 1943 |
Tongchon, Gangwon, Japanese Korea
|Occupation||News anchor at Korean Central Television|
|Known for||Announcing the death of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il|
|Revised Romanization||I Chunhi|
Ri Chun-hee (born 8 July 1943) is a retired female news anchor for North Korean broadcaster Korean Central Television. She is most notable for her characteristic emotional and sometimes vitriolic tone. Ri made the official announcements of the deaths of Kim Il-sung in 1994 and Kim Jong-il in 2011. In a news report by CCTV News on 24 January 2012, Ri announced her retirement as chief newsreader at KCTV.
Early life and education
Ri was born in 1943 to a poor family in Tongchon, Gangwon, Korea. She was cultivated by the North Korean government because of her background of abject poverty, which is considered a sign of political trustworthiness in the country. Ri did not major in journalism but in performance art at Pyongyang University of Theatre and Film and was recruited by KCTV.
Ri has been the chief news presenter of KCTV since 1974 and was on air for every public appearance of late Supreme Leader Kim Jong-il. She has also been on air for other important stories such as North Korea's successful nuclear test.
Ri has received high acclaim from the North Korean authorities for her resonant voice, impressive mood and outstanding eloquence, with a power fit to "shake all the enemies". She is known for her melodramatic announcing style. She often speaks in a wavering and exuberant tone when praising the nation's leaders, and conversely with visible anger when denouncing the West. According to Brian Reynolds Myers, a professor at Dongseo University and an expert in North Korean propaganda, her training in drama serves her well, given the large amount of showmanship that is typical of North Korean broadcasting.
When she made the official announcement of Kim Il-sung's death in 1994, Ri was visibly crying during the broadcast. Likewise, when she announced Kim Jong-il's death in 2011, she was seen holding back tears. Her melodramatic style has been parodied in the character of Kim Bong Cha, a North Korean correspondent on The Noose.
Honours and privileges
Ri has been awarded the titles "People's Broadcaster" and "Heroine of Labour". These honours have given her numerous material advantages, such as a modern house, a deluxe car, and access to entertainment, fashion, and clothing otherwise inaccessible to the average North Korean.
- "With Words of Leader's Death Come Tears on State TV". The New York Times, December 19, 2011.
- Report on CCTV English on YouTube announcing Ri's retirement
- The voice of North Korea. Dec 8, 2009. The World
- 북성명 때마다 '전투적인 그녀' (in Korean). Apr 16, 2008. The Chosun Ilbo
- KCTV: Kim Jong Il Enjoys Art Performance. Nov 5, 2008. on YouTube
- KCTV: Kim Jong Il Gives Field Guidance to Kanggye Koryo Medicine Factory. Dec 16, 2008. on YouTube
- KCTV: Kim Jong Il Enjoys Art Performance Given by State Merited Chorus. Dec 20, 2008. on YouTube
- KCTV: Dancing Parties of Youth and Students Held (Kim Jong Il's 69th Birthday). Feb 16, 2010. on YouTube
- KCTV: Kim Jong Il Makes Unofficial Visit to Northeastern China. May 7, 2010. on YouTube
- KCTV: Kim Jong Il Reelected as General Secretary. Sep 28, 2010. on YouTube
- KCTV: DPRK Successfully Conducts Underground Nuclear Test. Oct 9, 2006. on YouTube