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Are you special, basic or complex? Behind North Korea’s caste system | World news | The Guardian


Are you special, basic or complex? Behind North Korea’s caste system

‘Songbun’ separates citizens according to ancestral and social standings – or whether they’ve had their photograph taken with the great leader. NK News wonders how will it coexist with Kim Jong-un’s proposed reforms

North Korean Army soldiers and civilians on the stands of the Kim Il Sung Stadium, a photograph by Ilya Pitalev which won at the Sony World Photography Awards in 2013.

North Korean Army soldiers and civilians on the stands of the Kim Il Sung Stadium, a photograph by Ilya Pitalev which won at the Sony World Photography Awards in 2013. Photograph: Ilya Pitalev/Sony

Fyodor Tertitskiy for NK News, part of the North Korea network

Wednesday 4 March 2015 05.00 GMT Last modified on Wednesday 4 March 2015 12.13 GMT

It might not be obvious from the outside, but experts agree that North Korea is undergoing significant upheaval. Kim Jong-un’s regime is said to be serious about reforms, with the so-called “30th May measures” promising to increase personal income and allow greater social mobility.

But this has left many wondering how North Korea’s strict songbun system of social classification will coexist with such unprecedented reforms.

Songbun was most important element in the social structure of Kim Il-sung’s North Korea. Sung, who established the Democratic People’s Republic in 1948, initiated the system of social classification in the late 1950s, dividing the population into groups according to the actions and status of their paternal ancestors during the Japanese colonial period and the Korean War.

Songbun determines, among other things, whether North Koreans are allowed to live in the capital or in special cities, the workplace they’re allocated, and what kind of education they can receive.

While there has been some research into songbun, much of it is either outdated or incomplete. Researchers aren’t allowed to access official North Korean documents of this kind, which are always classified, but fortunately I have a friend who served in the North Korean police and is very familiar with the songbun documents, who was able to explain it in more detail.

Brahmins and untouchables, North Korean style

According to this system of social classification North Korean society is divided to five groups, from the best to the worst: special, nucleus, basic, complex and hostile. Earlier research has usually only mentioned three strata, because the existence of the special class was largely unknown, and the complex classification was only introduced in the 2000s.

Nucleus, also known as core, is the standard. Special is very rare and acts as a bonus in status. In contrast, basic (also known as wavering) can lead to slight discrimination, while people deemed complex and especially hostile face substantial prejudice.

‘Awarded with an audience’ is a title given to North Koreans who have talked to the leader for 20 minutes or more

A possible exception from this system would be blood relatives of the Kim family, who are seemingly excluded from all official documentation, although this remains to be verified.

Songbun is calculated from two factors. The first measures the social position and actions of one’s paternal ancestors during the Japanese colonial period and the Korean War. Did they fight with Kim Il-sung and later remain close to the Great Leader? Congratulations, your ancestry songbun is as good as it can be. Or, did they work as a clerk in the colonial administration, or worse, were they part of a faction in the independence movement that later proved hostile to Kim? Well then, your ancestry songbun is very bad and you’re unlikely to advance to any meaningful position in society.

The second – social songbun – measures the place occupied by a person in North Korean society; a worker, farmer, military man, teacher or policeman. There is, however, one variation of social songbun which overrides all others – party member – and another, the strange sounding “awarded with an audience”.

Portraits of North Korea's national founder Kim Il Sung (left) and late leader Kim Jong Il in Pyongyang, North Korea.

Portraits of North Korea’s national founder Kim Il-sung (left) and late leader Kim Jong-il in Pyongyang, North Korea. Photograph: AP

The latter is a title given to North Koreans who have talked to the leader for 20 minutes or more, or who have had their picture taken with him. That’s why commemoration photos printed in the official newspaper of the ruling Worker’s Party, Rodong Sinmun, often include thousands of people – the songbun of all of them has just increased.



Songbun influences many aspects of life in North Korea. If your songbun isn’t good enough, you cannot live in Pyongyang. Or, you cannot enter a good university, no matter how smart you are. You cannot be employed as a teacher or a policemen with bad or even average songbun. And if you want to join the ranks of the secret police (as many North Koreans do) not only you, but all you relatives up to the sixth generation must have a good songbun, or you do not qualify.

Can you alter your songbun? When it comes to ancestry , the answer is almost always no. Records are kept in four locations: at the local administration office, ordinary police, secret police and at specific organisations, like the Worker’s Party, Women’s Union, or labour union.

The situation during the Kim Il-sung era was much the same: a person of bad ancestry could not get a good job, so his or her songbun remained bad too. However, many things have changed since Kim Il-sung died in 1994, and the role of this system of classification is one of them. Now, a person who has worked for three years gets a new social designation decided upon by the decision of the local party committee. And these days even people of questionable ancestry can join the party. Some North Korean officials have also started to simply ignore songbun, reasoning that punishing someone for the sins of their ancestors is unfair and unjust.

The role of songbun is gradually reducing, as the country embraces new ways and new economic models. If Kim Jong-un really wants to proceed with promised reforms, one of the necessary steps would be to abolish songbun, at least in practice.

A version of this article first appeared on NK News

Are you special, basic or complex? Behind North Korea’s caste system | World news | The Guardian


March 5, 2015 Posted by | Blog, Blogroll, Business, Death, Disgusting, Health, Holidays, Homeless, Internet, Just Wrong, Money, nature, People, Politics, religion, Weird | , | Leave a comment

Please Help Andy Hayes from London

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If you know this man please help if you don’t blog,tweet, Facebook this Thank You

December 28, 2014 Posted by | Blog, Blogroll, CELEBRITY, Charity, Death, Entertainement, Food, Football, Health, Homeless, housing, Internet, Just Wrong, Money, nature, People, Politics, religion, Sport, Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Our Letter of Confession

Our Letter of Confession

Photo of Kim Jon Un“A witness saw a young woman who folded her hands in a praying fashion when the SSD [State Security Department] interrogated her. The SSD suspected therefore that she was a Christian. They took her to another room and beat her until she confessed.”
—Testimony before the United Nations Human Rights Council

Now is the time to make our confession to Kim Jong Un. We declare that we will remain loyal to the one true God and continue to stand with our persecuted family members in North Korea.

We know what is happening in North Korea. We commit to telling the world about the crimes of its leader and to do everything in our power to assist our persecuted family there.

We invite you to add your voice in support of North Korean Christians by digitally signing the Letter of Confession. We will deliver these letters to North Korea’s representatives to the United Nations.

Read more about the plight of Christians in North Korea.

Frequently Asked Questions

July 15, 2014 Posted by | Blog, Blogroll, Charity, Death, Disgusting, fraud, Health, Internet, Just Wrong, Money, People, Politics, religion | Leave a comment

Gao Zhisheng shouldn’t be in prison right now

He shouldn’t even be in prison
Dear friend, Gao Zhisheng shouldn’t be in prison right now. The Chinese human rights lawyer has been targeted by the government for defending Christians and other religious minorities. They’ve shut down his law firm, revoked his lawyer’s licence – and since 2006 he’s been in and out of prison, suffering illegal detention and torture. All for speaking up for justice. Ask your MP to call for Gao’s release from prison.
Gao’s family haven’t seen him since January 2013 – and even then, they were only allowed a half-hour visit. He is due to be released on 22 August 2014, according to some legal experts. The Chinese government has consistently failed to provide information on his whereabouts and even his health, so it’s vital that we make sure they know we’re expecting his release. And last year, Gao’s wife Geng He asked the international community to keep pressing the Chinese authorities on his case “as the best way to protect him”. Gao and his family have suffered tremendous injustice for far too long. Please urge your MP to take action for Gao today. Thank you so much. Yours in hope for freedom Emma CSW Campaigns Team P.S. The Chinese government is desperate to keep Gao quiet – but he’s desperate to speak up against injustice. Email your MP today to call for Gao’s release. Thank you!


July 3, 2014 Posted by | Blog, Blogroll, Computers, Death, Disgusting, fraud, Health, Internet, Just Wrong, People, Politics, religion | Leave a comment

Urgent: Your prayers this week will change lives

Urgent: Your prayers this week will change lives
Dear friend, Thank you so much for your campaigning and prayers for some desperate situations in the last few weeks. This week has been filled with highs and lows – the news of Meriam’s release, followed swiftly the family’s detention at Khartoum airport 24 hours later. Meriam isn’t the only person who needs God’s intervention on her behalf and your prayers are vital – will you continue to pray for the following situations with us?
SUDAN: Meriam Ibrahim and family still detained Meriam Ibrahim, whose death sentence for apostasy was quashed on Monday, is still being held after being detained along with her family at the airport on Tuesday. Meriam is being investigated by the police for alleged irregularities with her travel documents. The police have refused to release the family on bail whilst they carry out their investigation.  

  • Pray that Meriam and her family would be unconditionally released by the police and that the police would conclude their investigation without charging Meriam.

>> More prayer points available at  

ERITREA: Your prayers this week could change Eritrea’s future On Thursday the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council (HRC) will discuss, and hopefully adopt, a strong resolution condemning the continuing, severe and widespread human rights violations committed by Eritrea against its citizens and calling for the establishment of a Commission of Inquiry to investigate the violations outlined in reports by the Special Rapporteur on human rights in Eritrea. This is a bold step and one which needs to be underpinned by prayer if it’s to be successful.

  • Pray that the resolution calling for the establishment of a Commission of Inquiry would be adopted by consensus at the Human Rights Council this week;
  • Pray that if the resolution goes to a vote this week, HRC members would vote unanimously for a Commission of Inquiry.

 >> Find out more…

IRAN: Behnam Irani returned to prison after disappearance As you may know Pastor Behnam Irani, who was jailed on political charges, was assaulted earlier this month and was removed to an unknown location. He has now been returned to Ghezal Hesar, but his physical condition and whereabouts during the time of his disappearance are unclear.

  • Pray for emotional and physical healing for Pastor Irani, and for strength and comfort for his wife and young children.
CUBA: Reverend Mario Felix Lleonart Barroso and his wife detained by authorities You may remember Reverend Mario Felix Lleonart Barroso and his wife Yoaxis from previous emails and our Response newsletter – they are religious freedom activists who have regularly been targeted by the Cuban government.  They were detained by police last weekend, and although they were released two hours later, police have confiscated their computer. We’re concerned that state security officials could plant information on their computer in order to justify criminal charges.

  • Pray that the laptops are returned quickly and that no information is planted which could endanger Mario Felix and Yoaxis;
  • Pray for protection for Mario Felix, Yoaxis and their two daughters.

If you’re a twitter user and want to encourage the couple, please tweet them an encouragement to @maritovoz and @yoaxism

To get regular prayer updates from CSW to keep praying for these and other situations, please sign up here. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. James 5:16 Blessings, Emma CSW Communications Team P.s. Please forward this email to your friends and encourage them to pray too. Thanks again for your support!

June 25, 2014 Posted by | Blogroll, Business, Death, Disgusting, fraud, Health, Internet, Just Wrong, People, Politics | Leave a comment

BREAKING: Meriam is free!


BREAKING: Meriam is free!
Dear friend, Just a few hours ago, we received some wonderful news: Meriam Ibrahim has been freed!

I wanted you to be among the first to know that the appeal court has overturned her convictions for adultery and apostasy, and declared her innocent of all charges. She and her children, Martin and Maya, are now back with her husband Daniel. We are thanking God for this amazing miracle! Can you join us to keep praying for Meriam and her family?

Meriam and her family still aren’t safe. People claiming to be her family members have threatened to carry out her death sentence themselves, and her lawyers have received death threats because of their involvement with her case. We’re appalled by this. Everyone has the right to freedom of religion or belief, and to uphold this right, as Meriam’s lawyers are doing. This right is guaranteed in international law, as well as in Sudan’s own constitution. Please pray urgently for Meriam, her family and her lawyers.  
It’s time to change the world, so that no one should have to go through what Meriam went through – months on death row, simply because of her faith. She even had to give birth in chains.  Please uphold her in prayer. Thank you. Blessings Emma CSW Communications Team P.S. Thank you so much for everything you did to help secure Meriam’s release. But she’s not the only one we’re campaigning for. As long as there are people who are harassed, threatened and imprisoned for their faith, we’ll be speaking up for them.  I’ll be in touch with you soon to tell you how you can get involved – meanwhile, thank you again for all you’ve done. Meriam is free!

June 23, 2014 Posted by | Blog, Blogroll, Charity, Death, Disgusting, Health, Just Wrong, People, Politics, religion | Leave a comment

The fate of 200 Nigerian schoolgirls is still uncertain and yesterday, 20 more women were abducted.

You’ve seen the headlines. Your prayers can change them.

Dear friend,
The fate of 200 Nigerian schoolgirls is still uncertain and yesterday, 20 more women were abducted.

Deadly attacks, particularly on Christian communities, are now the weekly norm. According to a local human rights NGO, at least 1,296 people died between 1 April and 5 June.
Over 300,000 people have been forced to flee their homes in the last year alone.
And as the 2015 elections approach, Christians fear another outbreak of religiously-motivated violence.
Now is the time to lift Nigeria to God in prayer. Join us for the Nigeria Week of Prayer, 15-22 June 2014.


We’ve put together downloadable resources to help you, your church and small group to rise up in prayer for this troubled nation. There’s a poster, a prayer sheet, and Twitter header and Facebook cover images so you can show your support. Just click here to download your free resources, and use them all through the week of 15-22 June, or whenever convenient for you.
We’d also like to encourage you to use the prayer below written by Anglican Archbishop of Jos, Benjamin Kwashi:


The eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love.

Psalm 33:18

We’ve seen God move in incredible ways when we’ve joined together to pray for Nigeria before. We’ve seen expected attacks headed off, violence brought to a halt, perpetrators arrested, and peace-building initiatives flourish. Please join us for the Nigeria Week of Prayer, and let God arise.
Thank you!
Communications Team
P.S. On our website you can also see extraordinary footage of Boko Haram, the Islamic terrorist group behind the kidnapping of the schoolgirls. Simply go to to watch the video and download your free prayer resources. Thank you for joining us to lift Nigeria to God in prayer.


CSW is a Christian organisation working for religious freedom through advocacy and human rights, in the pursuit of justice.

Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW)
PO Box 99, New Malden, Surrey, KT3 3YF

June 11, 2014 Posted by | Blog, Blogroll, Charity, Death, Disgusting, Food, Health, Internet, Just Wrong, Money, People, Politics, religion, Uncategorized | , | 1 Comment

Iran: Pastor Irani beaten in prison and taken to unknown location


Iran: Pastor Irani beaten in prison and taken to unknown location  09/06/2014

Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) has learned that Pastor Behnam Irani, who was sentenced in 2011 to six years imprisonment on political charges, was beaten in prison and transferred to an unknown location in the early hours of 7 June.
Pastor Irani was summoned by Judge Mohammad Yari, Chief of the Sixth Chamber of the Revolutionary Tribunal at 6:30 am on 7 June. As the summons appeared irregular and contrary to judicial process, Pastor Irani rejected it and wrote a letter of protest. However, at 9 am, VEVAK intelligence agents entered his prison cell and proceeded to beat him before he was taken to see Mohammad Yari. He was subsequently transferred to an unknown location.
The assault on Pastor Irani is the latest of several reports in recent weeks of Iranian authorities using excessive violence against prisoners of conscience.
Pastor Irani is the leader of the Church of Iran congregation in Karaj. He was initially arrested in December 2006, and was sentenced in 2011 to six years imprisonment on charges of “action against the state” and “action against the order.”
Two weeks ago, Pastor Irani’s bible and other Christian literature was confiscated by authorities. Recent events have given rise to concerns that the authorities may be planning to add charges to his existing sentence.
During the first few months of his imprisonment in Ghezal Hesar, Pastor Irani was held incommunicado in a small cell, where guards repeatedly woke him from sleep as a form of psychological torture. He was moved to a cramped room where inmates could not lie down to sleep, before being transferred to a crowded, filthy cell, which he shares with 40 criminals, many of whom are violent. He has been subjected to physical and psychological pressure, and has suffered regular beatings from cell mates and prison authorities, as well as death threats.
In February 2014, Pastor Irani successfully underwent surgery to treat stomach and colon complications.
CSW’s Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas said,
“We are deeply concerned to hear of the assault on Pastor Irani and his enforced disappearance, especially given his medical complications. We cannot begin to imagine the distress this news must be causing his family and friends. CSW urges the authorities to make Pastor Irani’s whereabouts known and to provide him with any medical treatment he may need following his beating at the hands of VEVAK security agents. Furthermore, we continue to call for his release, since in reality he is in prison on account of his faith and in contravention of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is party. We also urge the Iranian authorities to end assaults on prisoners, as they violate the nation’s obligations under article 10 of the ICCPR, which states that prisoners should be treated with humanity and with respect for their inherent human dignity.”

Iran: Pastor Irani beaten in prison and taken to unknown location

June 9, 2014 Posted by | Blog, Blogroll, Charity, Death, Disgusting, Health, Internet, Just Wrong, Politics, religion, Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Open Doors UK – Email Prayer Alert N Korea


Save Syria

"Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven." Matthew 5:44-45

North Korea

Family of Kim Jong-Un’s uncle put to death

All direct relatives of the executed uncle of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, including women and children, have been put to death at the leader’s instruction, multiple sources reported this week.
Jang Song-thaek was executed last month on charges of attempting to overthrow the Communist regime. His executed relatives include Jang’s sister Jang Kye-sun, her husband and Ambassador to Cuba Jon Yong-jin, and Ambassador to Malaysia Jang Yong-chol, who is Jang’s nephew, as well as his two sons, according to South Korea’s Yonhap news agency.
"The executions of Jang’s relatives mean that no traces of him should be left," a source said. "The purge of the Jang Song-thaek people is under way on an extensive scale from relatives and low-level officials."

This latest crackdown is bad news for all citizens, and certainly for Christians, who are viewed as enemies of the state. How can we pray for Christians in North Korea in the light of these terrible events? Jan Vermeer, an Open Doors worker involved with our work in North Korea, shares what he has learnt from the Bible about praying for the persecuted church.

"’Pray for those who persecute you. Bless your enemies.’ We tend to miss the significance of Jesus’ commandment. He orders us to pray for the persecutors and to bless the enemies of the gospel. Canon Andrew White from Baghdad has to lead his congregation through a time of severe terrorism. He says: ‘If you want to stop terrorism, there is no point in talking to the good people. You have to speak with the bad people.’ Praying for our enemies is the most strategic thing we can do.

"The difficult part is application in everyday life. These principles just feel… wrong. So God really wants me to pray for Kim Jong-Un’s terrible regime and bless them?

"Then I read what North Korean Christians say about their requests before God’s throne. They pray God will come to their aid soon. They pray God will bless their leaders with the gospel of the risen Christ. They pray that God’s name will be glorified through the underground church. And so should I."

Pray with Christians in North Korea through Lent with our new six-week prayer resource, Live Like a North Korean. Order a copy or sign up to receive a digital version via email.

Source: Yonhap news agency; Open Doors

Please Pray:

  • Ask God to bless Kim Jong-Un and to open his heart to the gospel
  • For change within the regime. Pray that God will rescue them from the dominion of darkness and bring them into the kingdom of light
  • For Christians in North Korea. Ask God to give them the strength, wisdom and courage to glorify His name in every circumstance.

With many thanks for your prayers.

Open Doors Prayer Team

Open Doors UK – Email Prayer Alert

February 3, 2014 Posted by | Blog, Blogroll, Computers, Death, Disgusting, Health, Internet, Just Wrong, nature, People, Politics, religion, scams | | Leave a comment

Inside North Korea’s brutal prison camps – Yahoo! News UK


Inside North Korea’s brutal prison camps

Prisoner Shin was beaten, starved, tortured and treated as a slave. Miraculously he escaped and survived to tell the tale

The North Korean military has put on a lavish display to mark the anniversary of the armistice which ended the Korean War. But despite the truce nearly 60 years ago, North Korea is still seen as a volatile nation. It has been condemned by other countries for its nuclear testing programme and its record of human rights violations – in particular its use of brutal prison camps. One man who knows all about the country’s abuse of human rights is Shin Dong-hyuk – the only man born inside a North Korean prison camp who managed to escape. His story has been documented in a book ‘Escape from Camp 14’ by journalist Blaine Harden. Here the author offers Yahoo! News a startling picture of what life is like in notoriously secretive North Korea.

A naked Shin was hung from the ceiling by his arms and legs, his body in the shape of a U. Just a boy at the time, he was lowered by a winch towards a tub of burning charcoal. Crazed with pain, he smelled his burning flesh. A guard then pierced his stomach with a hook on a pole and held him over the fire until he lost consciousness. This was just one instance of the brutal torture Shin experienced and witnessed at Camp 14 – one of North Korea’s inhumane prison camps.

American Journalist Blaine Harden spent years trying to gain the trust of Shin, now in his late 20s, so that his story could be told. He tells us: "The purpose of writing the book is to grab people by the throat and explain how North Korea operates and Shin’s story does that so well because no one has told it before."

Shin is the only person to be born in a prison camp who has escaped and lived to tell the tale.
His only crime? Being related to his father’s brothers who escaped to South Korea after the Korean War in the 1950s. There are people like Shin who were born in the camps and never allowed to leave and others, considered defectors, who are either there for ‘rehabilitation’ – or more likely until they die.

Harden says: "They can arrest anybody they want, for any reason, without any charge and take them away in the middle of the night and never tell them why they were taken."

The camps have been around since the late 1950s and Harden says they have always operated in almost exactly the same way. He says: "There is an incredible culture of brutality. Working people to death, usually by the time they’re in their mid-40s, they have executions, guards who are at liberty to murder, rape and torment the prisoners without any sanctions against them. They are taught to regard the prisoners as pigs and dogs. They can rape them, impregnate them, kill the babies and kill the women. They can also beat children to death if they’re in the mood."

A female North Korean soldier looks out from behind a barbed-wire fence around a camp (PA)

A total of 60 former camp inmates have told their stories to human rights investigators. Harden explains how those interviews, carried out separately across a decade, tell a remarkably consistent story about how the camps operate, what life is like, who lives, who dies, why and how.

Shin was starved, beaten and raised as a slave in a culture of disclosure and reward. He reported his mother and brother for plotting an escape which ultimately led to their execution.

Harden says: "How Shin was raised in the camp is an example of the sort of mentality that is spread across the country. There are about 170,000 secret police in North Korea. They are in virtually every apartment block, every village. They are there to incentivise people to snitch on each other. And children, relatives and friends do snitch on each other."

An estimated 200,000 people are detained in prison camps and there are fears the camps are growing. Satellite images show the existence of the camps, yet North Korea still denies their presence to the rest of the world.

But people in North Korea know the camps exist. "They know that every once in a while people disappear into the night – an entire family," says Harden. "And they know if they speak out there’s a chance that they could join them."

North Korean female soldiers on parade in Pyongyang (Reuters)

People may be scared into silence but they are armed with more knowledge. Despite its extravagant ceremonial parades and military displays, North Korea is poor. Times are hard and although the Kim family rulers have tried to isolate the notoriously secretive country from the rest of the globe, censoring media, preventing access to the internet and effectively starving the populace of information, knowledge about the wealth and freedoms in the outside world has seeped through into this totalitarian state. 

More electronic products such as DVDs, radios and USB sticks are crossing the border illegally, primarily from China, and the number of radios that can tune into outside radio stations has increased. A recent survey of all defectors who have fled the country revealed that while in North Korea, 60 per cent were able to listen to outside radio stations on a daily basis.

Harden says: "They know more about the outside world but their ability to act on it and interact with each other based on the new information they have is not changing very much at all. There’s no civil society inside North Korea. People do not get together. They cannot meet in more than groups of three or four anywhere and people cannot travel easily within the country so they are socially and politically atomised."

Harden believes that life may have actually got worse under new leader Kim Jong-Un, who was declared the ‘Supreme Leader’ of North Korea at the end of 2011 following the death of his father.

He says: "It seems to have gone backwards in some ways. The border has been effectively closed down, people are not crossing or fleeing the country. The number of defectors arriving in South Korea has been cut significantly in the past year. Kim Jong-Un recognised that having this porous border was allowing people to go off and tell stories to human rights people and he wanted to end it. The Government has lost none of its appetite for cruelty."

                                    [Amnesty: North Korea Prison Camps ‘Expanding’]

Propaganda is also used incessantly and it is extremely powerful. Pictures of the ‘great’ and ‘dear’ leader Kim Jong-Un are everywhere and the state owned Central News Agency is the sole news provider in the country, ensuring the publication and broadcast of specific messages, including verbal attacks on America and South Korea.

Harden says: "They teach people that the US in particular, South Korea and Japan are plotting to murder them, to bomb them to kill their children – and there are some good reasons for North Koreans to believe it. During the Korean War the Americans bombed North Korea. They destroyed virtually every city, town and village, including about 85 per cent of the structures.”

Harden states that every single person in the country had a relative killed in the war. "That is sold and resold in the state propaganda about why you need the Kim family to protect you."
North Korean defector’s ‘impossible’ dream of closing prison camps]

Shin was not subject to the propaganda. There was no use for propaganda for the prisoners born in the camps. They have no choices. They are put to work, then they die. For the rest of the population though it’s a highly effective method of control.

Despite all this, Harden is optimistic change will occur in North Korea. The UN has authorised a human rights investigation into the camps, amid denials from the country’s UN ambassador Sin Son-ho, who recently asserted ‘we don’t have any human rights problems’.
Harden says: "They are surrounded by a booming China and an absolutely amazing South Korea which is one of the fastest growing economies, one of the most wired places in the world and Japan. They’re getting poorer and their options are fewer. As more information seeps into the country, the contradictions become sharper, so change has to happen."

Shin is one of many who dares to hope he is right.

Inside North Korea’s brutal prison camps – Yahoo! News UK

Nermin OomerNermin Oomer – Fri, Aug 2, 2013

August 5, 2013 Posted by | Blog, Blogroll, Charity, Death, Disgusting, fraud, Health, Internet, Just Wrong, nature, People, Politics, religion, Weird | | Leave a comment