North Korea’s Gulags

CNN has a good story on North Korea’s system of prison camps, modeled on the Gulags of the Soviet Union, but possibly even worse:

Watching the public execution of his mother and older brother, Shin Dong-Hyuk thought the punishment was just. They had planned to escape the North Korean labor camp they were being held in until Shin overheard them and reported them to the prison guards.

Just 14-years old, Shin says he felt no guilt in condemning them to death. One of the very few North Koreans to be born inside one of the brutal prison camps, he says the concept of family that exists in the outside world did not exist in Camp 14….

Those, like Shin, who have tried to escape a North Korean political or hard labor camp and have survived to tell the tale, talk of starvation, torture, betrayal and executions. By informing on others, many say inmates could hope for more food or less beatings. Horrific heart-breaking accounts of being quite literally worked to death have emerged over recent years…

Human rights group Amnesty International believes up to 200,000 prisoners are being held “in horrific conditions in six sprawling political prison camps.”

In its annual human rights report released last week, it said, “The combination of hazardous forced labor, inadequate food, beatings, totally inadequate medical care and unhygienic living conditions, resulted in prisoners falling ill, and a large number died in custody or soon after release.”

As the article mentions, South Korea’s National Human Rights Commission recently published a 381-page report on North Korean labor camps.

North Korea’s communist regime is probably the most oppressive government in the world today. I previously blogged about it here, here, and here. But at least the late “Dear Leader” Kim Jong Il tried to alleviate his people’s starvation with “authentic” Italian pizza and giant rabbits.