Skip to comments.An abrupt end to a North Korean's life of privilege
Posted on 10/22/2003 1:11:26 AM PDT by HAL9000
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Kim Yong seemed to have it all. He was a trusted lieutenant colonel in a North Korean police agency and worked for a company that exported fish to Japan. He had access to dollars, foreign goods and a chauffeur-driven car.
Then one day, North Korean authorities learned that Kim had been living for decades under an assumed name. He actually was the son of a man who, decades earlier, had been executed as a spy for the United States.
Kim was immediately sent to a detention facility in Pyongyang, where he was forced to kneel for long periods with a wooden bar placed between his knees and calves.
He was suspended by his handcuffed wrists from his prison cell bars, and he was submerged up to his waist for long periods in tanks filled with cold water.
After spending several years working in labor camps, Kim was able to escape by sneaking a ride aboard a coal train into China.
Kim's account is part of a lengthy report being released Wednesday by the U.S. Committee for Human Rights in North Korea.
Based on satellite photography and testimony from escaped former prisoners, the report estimates that between 150,000 and 200,000 political prisoners are confined to these camps, known as kwan-li-so. The study contains more than 30 pages of satellite photographs of North Korea's prison camp system.
"The injustice and cruelty these prisoners suffer is almost unimaginable," said David Hawk, a veteran human rights expert and author of the report.
"Beyond a starvation diet, torture and inhumane living and working conditions, the regime preaches a form of collective punishment where three generations of family members are given life terms along with family members charged with political crimes."
Kim was 7 years old in 1957 when his father, along with his father's brother, were executed on the spy charges. To spare the boy the collective guilt attributed to families of political wrongdoers, Kim's mother placed him in an orphanage under a false name.
The report says Kim's true parentage was discovered years later by accident after someone else turned up bearing his assumed name.
After two years working on the coal mine, he was transferred in 1996 to an adjacent camp, where he repaired coal trolleys.
There, to his surprise, the report said, he was reunited with his mother. He had no idea that she was confined there as well. He was given permission to live with her at the camp.
The report says she encouraged him to escape after she was crippled by camp guards for gathering edible weeds outside the camp compound beyond the allotted time.
At the camp where Kim mined coal, some prisoners raised livestock, considered an occupation of choice as the prisoners had the opportunity to steal animal food and even pick through animal feces for undigested grains, the report said.
Kim said daily meals were limited to 20-30 kernels of corn and watery cabbage soup. When he first arrived at the camp, he was shocked by the skinniness of the inmates. They looked to him like "soot-covered stickmen."
The report says that for two years, all that Kim saw was the inside of the mine shafts and the adjacent barracks - six rooms with 50 people per room sleeping on three tiers of wooden bunks.
According to Kim, many prisoners died of malnutrition and disease. He reported that one inmate was executed for collecting, without authorization, ripe chestnuts that had fallen to the ground.
Another hunger-crazed prisoner, the report said, died after having his mouth-smashed by a feces-covered stick for stealing a leather whip, soaking it in water and then eating the softened leather.
This question indeed illustrates the part that so many don't understand about a military regime: the depth of cruelty that they represent. These regimes use degridation and oppression to kill and govern. They have no idea about a constitution which confers its citizens with rights. A democratic constitution would impose such unwelcome restraints on their wicked impulses and they'd see adhering to that as a sign of weakness, not liberty.
This is about "the left."
This is about leftwing politics.
This is about being "politically correct" or else suffering at the hands of the political thought police.
Today, over at California State University at Chico, the campus newspaper (The Orion) opinion editor, Ryan Sabalow, "took on the Bush White House" for its religious fanaticism. The article is posted at Free Republic as "KEEP GOD OUT OF WHITHOUSE (College rag says Christians in WH more dangerous than terrorists)."
Ryan, who mispelled his own last name as Sabadow, with a "d" instead of an "l" --- see the article at The Orion "Keep God out of White House" ---
Keep God out of White House
October 22, 2003
--- is in a pique because he's learned that President George Bush might be, if not already is, an Evangelical Christian.
Meanwhile, what is terror (see story above regarding concentration camps in North Korea) and how terror is used as a tool by "the left," is "clearly" not his point, which is the purpose of his article: It is his tool by which to strike fear based upon his leftist inventions.
Give me an "L!"
Give me a "D!"
LD ... what's that spell?
They use man's propensity to lord what little power he has over others. While Kim and his cohorts deserve most of the blame, such horrors would not be possible without the thousands of other petty tyrants willing to inflict cruelty on their fellow humans for far lesser rewards.