Saturday, 30 March 2019

Rulers Who Are Evil in the Extreme

We Must Never Forget Them

A copy of an unusual book has crossed the desk.  It is based upon a popular blog called "Ask a North Korean".  The subtitle is "Defectors talk about their lives inside the world's most secretive nation".  (Tuttle Publishing: Tokyo, 2017)

The object is to provide commentary and insights from a number of North Korean defectors on a variety of everyday practices in North Korea.  It gets beyond talking about the Kims and discusses what living in North Korea is actually like.

In a section entitled, "The Powers That Be" the question is asked, What does the average person know about political prison camps?"

One North Korean refugee explains it this way:

I doubt there is anyone who has lived in North Korea for a certain period of time that does not know the basics about political prison camps.  And there will be no one who does not know what kind of person gets taken there, and what happens to them after that. . . .

North Korean political prison camps date back to the late 1950s. . . . The detainees are those who are hostile to the so-called authorities.  They have diverse backgrounds, all the way from top cadres down to country farmers.  There are countless victims, including those who did not even do anything themselves but rather have been unfairly punished according to yeonjwaje (meaning "guilty by association"), the rule under which one can be punished for the crimes of one's father or other direct family members. 

There are also those who had previously escaped abroad and became Christians, and those who had planned to defect to South Korea.  In the eyes of the authorities, Christianity is the worse crime in that it denies loyalty to the Kims; . . . .Of course there is no legal process, such as a trial.  They are simply taken away by a truck in the night and nobody knows where they have gone.  They do not notify their family members or relatives, and if family members go and protest, the authorities threaten them and don't reveal anything about the whereabouts of their loved one. 

Anyway, the most important thing is that they are guilty.  This is a horrendous contravention of the constitutional values of North Korea.  Both South and North have freedom of expression.  But North Korea has no freedom after expression.  [Daniel Tudor, Ask a North Korean, op cit., p. 48f.]
There is no issue about the term of one's sentence.  All who enter the North Korean gulag are sentenced to life, with no hope of parole, or commutation of sentence. 
Within the political prison camps, disease and torture are rampant, and official of the North Korean National Security Agency and the Ministry of  Defence that run the camps also have the authority to execute captives.  Ultimately, captives must live in the camps all their lives, and endure illness, hunger and torture until they die. [Ji-min Kang, cited in Ask a North Korean, op cit.]

May God arise and defend His beloved people. 

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