This summer, Pyongyang unveiled a bronze statue of "comrade commander" Kim Jong-il for the first time in North Korea. The event was announced with much fanfare by Gen. Kim Jong-gak, the vice director of the People’s Army’s General Political Bureau.
The publicity generated by the government evoke memories of Kim Jong-il’s ascent to power when he launched a statue campaign for his father, Kim Il Sung, some sixteen years ago. Many in Pyongyang recognize the significance of the newly anointed statue. Speculation is growing about when Kim Jong-il’s third youngest son, Kim Jong-un, will inherit the Juche ‘republic.’
But there are places in North Korea where Koreans are not as jubilant. Hundreds of thousands of men, women and children reside in one of any number of concentration camps that litter the countryside where they are tortured, experimented on, and re-educated in a ‘revolutionizing zone.’ Others do forced labor and eventually starve to death in the ‘total control zone’ where they serve life sentences.
North Korean refugee Shin Dong Hyok, who was born in and...More >>