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Korea: A former N. Korean soldier writes to his company commander (Gripping Tale)
N. Korean defectors' Association ^ | Jan., 2003 | Kim Chol-Min

Posted on 03/15/2003 3:51:55 AM PST by TigerLikesRooster

Dear comrade company commander Huh Chol-Ho,

How are you, comrade company commander ? I am Kim Chol-Min, the former targeter of artillery No. 8 under your command, who lived through good and bad times with you. A lot of time has passed since I saw you last time in October, 1995. Seven years to be exact. I am now in S. Korea. I really doubt that this letter I am writing at an apartment in a street of Seoul will reach you but I still want to share my feelings with you now.

On the day when we went out for 25 mile march, me carrying a 82mm mortar tube which is taller than me, at the young age of seventeen, you told me, "Chol-Min, it will be tough but you must prevail. Military service is a hard work but isn't it rewarding and honorable ?" No fancy rhetoric in your encouragement, but it remained as my motto for 10 years and 3 months of my service. The reward and honor, they were really what I wanted to get for all my life. Intangible and untouchable, still they were what all guys in my hometown, including me, were eager for in return for sacrificing our youth.

As you know, I literally dedicated my entire youth for that goal and finally became a party member, and the chairman of Socialist Worker's Youth League at my company. I was awarded 9 medals, which I proudly pinned on my chest. I was overjoyed. I cannot forget my trip back home wearing all those medals. I felt as if I were having all the glories in the world. Until I saw myself and my neighors surviving on grass gruel.

Had you heard anbody starved to death ? Now it is commonplace but back in April, '94, I could not believe what I was hearing. How would you feel about your childhood buddies dying like that ? I could no longer tell where the reality ends and the nightmare starts. I lived in Northern Hwang-Hae Province, the breadbasket of the nation. Still if you went out to the local train station, there were countless kids begging for foods, who were homeless or abandoned. And old folks abandoned by their children.

In spring '95, I met a dying seventeen year old girl in front of the train station, who pleaded me to bring her to where she could not be spotted by others. She believed that people would see all fleas crawling out of her body when she dies, the though of which caused her unbearable shame. I was cursing myself, while granting her wishes and blurting to her what the hell was with her shame now that she was dying. It was driving me mad. I thought that the history was moving backwards, and that the human civilization was in full retreat.

The honor and reward you drilled into my mind suddenly sounded as worthless as those fleas. It is worthwhile to be remembered and honored by those in your society but the honor over there is about serving Kim Jong-Il who is another ordinary human being like me. It would be absolutely of no use for saving me and my brothers who were starving. I would have gladly traded my party membership card and medals if it could bring a mere spoonful of food to them.

You would not believe me if I tell you that I came to Seoul after 10 years of successful military service and a college education just because I was hungry. But you would if I tell you that I could no longer bear watching all those starving people. It was really true. Watching people starving to death and frozen to death. It was too much. That is why I came down to the south. I have no regrets. I feel sorry about leaving behind those beloved folks back home. But I will redouble myself, working hard and sweating more until I go back and stand proud before my folks back home. I will live every trying day of my life here this way. Next time, I hope to write about details of my everyday life down here. Untile the day I will see you again, please be well.

Sincerely,

former targeter of artillery No. 8, Kim Chol-Min


TOPICS: Extended News; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: honor; nkorea; reward; soldier; starvation
One man's personal recount of his disillusionment with N. Korean reigme, written in a letter format.
1 posted on 03/15/2003 3:51:55 AM PST by TigerLikesRooster
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To: AmericanInTokyo; Steel Wolf; John Valentine; Cicero; Miss Marple; Paul Ross; exnavy; ...
My translation of the original article in Korean.
2 posted on 03/15/2003 3:56:25 AM PST by TigerLikesRooster
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To: TigerLikesRooster
When they say people are starving in North Korea, it is rather abstract, since we have no experience with it.

This letter illustrates the horror of the situation.

3 posted on 03/15/2003 3:57:13 AM PST by Miss Marple
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To: TigerLikesRooster
bump
4 posted on 03/15/2003 3:58:13 AM PST by paulsy
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To: paulsy
so has there ever been a succesfull dictatorship in either new or old world history? (really curious, has there been?)
5 posted on 03/15/2003 3:59:32 AM PST by paulsy
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To: paulsy
Depends on your definitions of "successful" and "dictatorship"........and from whose point of view.
6 posted on 03/15/2003 4:03:31 AM PST by RightOnline
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To: TigerLikesRooster
Until or unless the military of N. Korea decide to turn on their Glorious Leader and string his fat, sorry ass from a street lamp, that country is doomed to mass starvation or even more unimaginable horrors. It really, truly is just that simple.
7 posted on 03/15/2003 4:04:48 AM PST by RightOnline
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To: TigerLikesRooster
So incredibly sad. It is a good feeling to know that one man at least was able to throw off the chains.

No better illustration of the danger of authoritarian governments.

I had heard a report on NPR about a S.Korean planning to drop millions of solar powered radios in NK. Sounded like a good idea to me. Truth will set you free, if you don't starve first.
8 posted on 03/15/2003 4:05:04 AM PST by listenhillary (In my free time I enjoy listening to Liberals frothing at the mouth)
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To: paulsy
Read Herodotus. Read the Bible. Xerxes was pretty successful. When you thik about it, David and Solomon were dictators. Read Thucydides. Full of dictators. That was pretty much the way it was done back then. The whole "democracy" deal was kinda new in Athens. Herodotus talks about an earlier experiment in democracy that "ended in chaos". This is why our forefathers created a REPUBLIC and not a democracy. One of the problems today is nobody studies the Classics anymore...
9 posted on 03/15/2003 4:05:16 AM PST by wastoute
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To: paulsy
so has there ever been a succesfull dictatorship in either new or old world history? (really curious, has there been?)

What's your definition of success? Stability, welfare of the people, living standard and longevity of the dictator? If you define dictatorship as an autocracy, then all the old monarchies were dictatorship, and they lasted a long time.

10 posted on 03/15/2003 4:08:47 AM PST by SauronOfMordor (Heavily armed, easily bored, and off my medication)
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To: TigerLikesRooster
North Korea is not a country...

it's a cult!!

11 posted on 03/15/2003 4:09:28 AM PST by Nitro
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To: Nitro
Re #11

Yes, it is a cult commune.

12 posted on 03/15/2003 4:10:49 AM PST by TigerLikesRooster
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To: TigerLikesRooster
TigerLikesRooster, thank you for taking the trouble to translate that letter and post it for us. It was very moving. It gives me great pity for the people of North Korea. They need and deserve freedom, and all the blessings that come with it.
13 posted on 03/15/2003 4:14:29 AM PST by solzhenitsyn ("Live Not By Lies")
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To: TigerLikesRooster
Thanks for the post and translation. It is rare for us in the U.S. to get a ground level perspective that this heartrending letter supplies. Why is it that the S. Koreans don't seem to be seething with righteous indignation about the starvation of so many in N. Korea? Yet at the same time the presence of U.S. troops are widely protested?
14 posted on 03/15/2003 5:23:50 AM PST by Ranger
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To: TigerLikesRooster
Excellent job TLR.

I encourage you (if you are likewise inclined) to use the words " 'Freepranslated' by ________" in such research posts so we can get that as a regular word in the Freeper lexicon. There is a growing number of Freepers who read critical foreign languages, who synopsize here in English like you have, thus providing stuff that may never otherwise see the light of day in the English, Western press. Thanks for your service!

Now, on this side, recently I sent an e-mail letter, trying to appear apolitical, as an academic 'researcher', to a so-called Korean rights organization which is part of the International A.N.S.W.E.R. anti-Bush, anti-America umbrella.

This group claims to stick up for the 'human rights of Koreans.' Nearly everything they have is so-called atrocities by US troops in Korea 50 years ago.

I stated specifically in my message that I had a growing concern and could they help me and confirm: the locations of several concentration camps in NORTH KOREA, and I pointed to the Fall 2002 Far East Economic Review magazine article with clear aerials of one of those North Korean death and work camps near China for political prisoners/Christians, and asked them to briefly help me research (or provide other information resources) re: the rumored terrible human rights situation there in the DPRK.

I wrote it clearly, politely and respectfully asking for them, as Koreans and Korean experts who are also concerned, to help me.

I sent it over nearly TWO WEEKS AGO.

Do you think this communist front job for that scumbag, phony "pro-peace" shill of an organization International A.N.S.W.E.R. ever got back to me or otherwise showed the slightest concern?

15 posted on 03/15/2003 6:07:04 AM PST by AmericanInTokyo (Sorry if I can't answer everyone right away on Japan/Korea freepmail questions. I'm swamped! :-)
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To: Ranger
Ranger -- you hit the nail on the head. The South Korean people have been so bamboozled by their govt (among other influences) they have no idea what is going on in N/S relations anymore. The "Sunshine Policy" is ultimately a policy to link tentacles into NK through unofficial channels, exposing NK to outside influence (SK) and making them dependent on those tentacles. Ideally (according to the plan) it would all work out in a slow, peaceful transition. If it didn't, it would at least: 1)give SK a bargaining chip -- the rug to pull out (or threaten to) if NK got too out of line; 2) expose NK to some degree to outside influences; and, 3) forestall an immediate collapse of NK(and ensuing financial crisis for the SK economy as well. The biggest problem with 'Sunshine' was that they never prepped the SOUTH KOREAN people to deal with it. The SK's think it is really a policy about caring and persuasion; it's not -- it's an SK defense policy which assures that the NK's will be up there starving for at least another ten years. Truth is, the SK politicians don't really give a damn about that - not at all.
16 posted on 03/15/2003 6:16:36 AM PST by OahuBreeze
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To: TigerLikesRooster
Does anyone know WHY N. Korea is starving? I mean, is it the usual communist bureaucratic corruption and inefficiency? Is it nationalization of private property and the accompanying death of individual incentive? Is Kim Sung-Il confiscating grain and foodstuffs and hoarding them as weapons of control? Is it just natural occurrences like drought and flood?

I've heard a lot of talk about hunger and privation in that country, and it's always laid at the doorstep of the president. But nobody ever explains why it should be.

17 posted on 03/15/2003 6:18:40 AM PST by IronJack
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To: TigerLikesRooster
What an unbearably sad situation. America is probably the only nation in the world where even the poor people are fat; we just don't understand what desperately poor people go through in other countries.
18 posted on 03/15/2003 6:34:40 AM PST by Peach
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To: TigerLikesRooster
Jeepers. Thanks for the heads up!
19 posted on 03/15/2003 7:27:36 AM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: TigerLikesRooster
Thank you so much for sharing this letter and for translating it. My dear friend Ming (the second part of my screen name) is from mainland China and has been to North Korea. She has related to me how very poor North Korea is and how terrible it is to see so many poor people starving to death. This letter expresses so much and so well . . .
20 posted on 03/15/2003 8:46:26 AM PST by MeekOneGOP (Bu-bye Saddam! / Check out my Freeper site !: http://home.attbi.com/~freeper/wsb/index.html)
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To: yall
Mark Steyn (click below for entire article):

Take a look at a satellite picture of the peninsula by night: South Korea ablaze in electric light, the North in darkness. In Far East Asia, North Korea’s the hole in the doughnut.


North Korea at Night

21 posted on 03/15/2003 8:47:21 AM PST by MeekOneGOP (Bu-bye Saddam! / Check out my Freeper site !: http://home.attbi.com/~freeper/wsb/index.html)
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To: Gunslingr3; FLdeputy; Beauty; prana
All the sadness of the world ping.
22 posted on 03/15/2003 8:47:32 AM PST by Jonathon Spectre (who thinks of the Korean peninsula from space every day)
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To: TigerLikesRooster; Alamo-Girl; onyx; SpookBrat; Republican Wildcat; Howlin; Fred Mertz; ...
A short letter, and a worthy read, imho. . .


Please let me know if you want ON or OFF my General Interest ping list!. . .don't be shy.

23 posted on 03/15/2003 8:49:30 AM PST by MeekOneGOP (Bu-bye Saddam! / Check out my Freeper site !: http://home.attbi.com/~freeper/wsb/index.html)
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To: MeeknMing
MeeknMing,

Worry not! NK will glow much more vibrantly on the satellite picture pretty soon.
24 posted on 03/15/2003 9:34:14 AM PST by OahuBreeze
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To: OahuBreeze
Lets see now, didn't someone say 'one at a time'?
25 posted on 03/15/2003 9:45:59 AM PST by gulfcoast6 (deDixie the Dixie Chicks!!!!)
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To: TigerLikesRooster
interesting and sad. thanks
26 posted on 03/15/2003 11:31:59 AM PST by Texas_Jarhead
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To: OahuBreeze
Hmm? You reckon they'll have sizzlin' and glowin' personalities? . . .
27 posted on 03/15/2003 12:06:18 PM PST by MeekOneGOP (Bu-bye Saddam! / Check out my Freeper site !: http://home.attbi.com/~freeper/wsb/index.html)
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To: Nitro
"North Korea is not a country... it's a cult!!"

Very true! Unfortunately cults have a nasty tendency to go out with a bang when they come under pressure from the outside world, witness Peoples Temple, Branch Davidians, etc.

28 posted on 03/15/2003 12:30:21 PM PST by rimmont
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To: OahuBreeze
I have no desire to see NK "glow", if you mean that it will glow from a nuclear attack. I wish no harm at all to the starving masses of North Korea; have nothing but sympathy for them. If an opportunity arose to liberate them in a way that would be economical in terms of human life, I'd probably favor it.
29 posted on 03/15/2003 2:47:35 PM PST by solzhenitsyn ("Live Not By Lies")
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To: IronJack
1. Communism always screws up the economy.
2. Kim Jong Il thinks he is the world's expert on everything (no one around him dares disagree); he concocted an agricultural policy with really quite specific instructions to the farmers (though I doubt he has even gardened); everyone followed instructions to the letter; famine followed.
3. There have been some natural disasters, such as droughts.
4. What food there is, is reserved for the army.

The story told is just the tip of the iceberg. Desperate families have sold their daughters into prostitution. People subsist on tree bark and boiled grass. The human suffering is beyond measure. Think of Auschwitz made into a country. That is the true face of communism.
30 posted on 03/15/2003 2:57:57 PM PST by maro
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To: wastoute
Read Herodotus. Read the Bible. Xerxes was pretty successful. When you thik about it, David and Solomon were dictators. Read Thucydides. Full of dictators. That was pretty much the way it was done back then.

I have to respectfully disagree with a part of your assertion. I believe there is a vast difference between Xerxes and David and Solomon. The Kings of Israel were answerable to God. They knew that and were held accountable to that authority by the prophets Samuel and Nathan. Whether you are a Christian or Jew or not that accountability - either real or perceived - makes them something far different than a dictator.

Dictators are accountable to nothing and No one but POWER!

Regards,

TS

31 posted on 03/15/2003 2:59:11 PM PST by The Shrew
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To: paulsy
Successful dictatorship? I wonder if Napoleonic France was any worse than post-revolutionary France? I don't know if the definition of dictatorship would extend to the early days of Communist China, but if it did, the country was finally able to feed itself after generations of failure to do so. Other than that, I can't think of any.
32 posted on 03/15/2003 3:25:09 PM PST by gcruse (When choosing between two evils, pick the one you haven't tried yet.)
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To: TigerLikesRooster
That's a heartbreaking story, thank you for translating it for us. What really makes me mad is there is no reason for those people to be starving. The line between North and South Korea is an imaginary line. The only thing that make it different is the leaders.

So much aid has been sent and ended up in the wrong hands, allowing hungry people to starve. Just when is it going to end?

33 posted on 03/15/2003 5:06:32 PM PST by McGavin999
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To: AmericanInTokyo
Re #15

I could adopt the term "Freepranslation".:) As for those so-called human rights group, I doubt that they will show any interest on your request.

There are two human rights groups in S. Korea. The left wing one is more interested in "American and S. Korean atrocities". They would rather send human shields to Baghdad than raising concerns on N. Korean human rights. Even French are more likely to take up on N. Korean human rights than these losers. Then, there are conservative groups, usually sponsored by church charities. They do most of human rights monitoring on N. Korea. I think that Norbert Vollertsen works with these people. The left wing is busy painting Vollertsen as a publicity hound.

34 posted on 03/15/2003 6:02:46 PM PST by TigerLikesRooster
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To: OahuBreeze
RE #16

It is not even successful at creating bargaining chips for S. Korea. The only upside is that it could compeltely corrupt N. Korean regime at some point, which could trigger its dissolution. But that is not even guaranteed. N. Korea can turn around and bite S. Korea just like Palestinian Authority did after long appeasement from Israelis, before they crumble away.

There is not much quid pro quo going on here. It is more like a tribute. This is like Huns taking tributes from Byzantine Empire, or Xiongnu from Han Dynasty of China.

35 posted on 03/15/2003 6:10:47 PM PST by TigerLikesRooster
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To: MeeknMing
Re #20

During Mao's days, China was poorer than N. Korea. N. Korea has been regressing since then while China has been making strides. Kim Il-Sung's obession with his eternal glory turned the entire country into a den of incompetent servile ideologues.

36 posted on 03/15/2003 6:17:16 PM PST by TigerLikesRooster
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To: maro
Then this is the paradigm of communism reprised, the same blight that has afflicted everything it's touched. One more lesson for the unheeding Left.
37 posted on 03/15/2003 6:28:10 PM PST by IronJack
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To: knighthawk; MadIvan; Face Man II; MLedeen
Ping!
38 posted on 03/15/2003 6:30:12 PM PST by TigerLikesRooster
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To: TigerLikesRooster
Thanks for the translation. Great article, too bad no one in N. Korea has the internet except the top guy in the zipper suit.
39 posted on 03/15/2003 7:03:52 PM PST by Sawdring
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To: TigerLikesRooster
Thanks. I am sure that's true. China has made progress. Not so NK. bttt . . .
40 posted on 03/15/2003 7:16:38 PM PST by MeekOneGOP (Bu-bye Saddam! / Check out my Freeper site !: http://home.attbi.com/~freeper/wsb/index.html)
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To: solzhenitsyn
I agree --- it was insensitive hyperbole -- sometimes my hatred of the North Korean regime gets the better of me. As for the Kim Family and friends, the best justice, IMHO, will be to turn them over to a free North Korean people and look the other way for a week (I hope they stretch it out that long) :)
41 posted on 03/16/2003 3:10:46 AM PST by OahuBreeze
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To: OahuBreeze
"As for the Kim Family and friends, the best justice, IMHO, will be to turn them over to a free North Korean people ... "

I laughed when I read that! I've been wishing for Saddam Hussein, et al., to be turned over to the Kurds!

Best to you!

42 posted on 03/16/2003 4:04:40 AM PST by solzhenitsyn ("Live Not By Lies")
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To: MeeknMing; TigerLikesRooster
Worthy read indeed. Thanks for the ping again, MnM. Thank you for the FReeptranslation, TigerLikesRooster.
43 posted on 03/16/2003 5:21:49 AM PST by .30Carbine (Watching and Praying)
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To: maro
Quoteworthy:

Think of Auschwitz made into a country.
That is the true face of communism.

44 posted on 03/16/2003 5:24:29 AM PST by .30Carbine (Watching and Praying)
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To: All
More testimony by clicking here.
45 posted on 03/16/2003 5:34:22 AM PST by .30Carbine (Watching and Praying)
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To: All
And here.
46 posted on 03/16/2003 5:36:35 AM PST by .30Carbine (Watching and Praying)
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To: rimmont
I must say your argument is a little specious...

the People's Temple was destroyed, but they did it to themselves...

as far as the Branch Davidians, while I can't side with Reno...

again, they forced the issue...

I think Dave and his cult fired the first shots...

and anyone who has ever studied fire will tell you that was set from within.

Now we face the North Korea cult and supposedly they have two (2) Weapons, Nuclear...

that means essentially that they are holding a gun with 2 bullets...

what good is a gun with 2 bullets, unless you are saving the last/second bullet for yourself?

If North Korea hit us twice, they cease to exist...

a retaliatory strike would be absolute!!

47 posted on 03/16/2003 11:10:14 PM PST by Nitro
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To: gcruse

Actually, Napoleonic France was not as great as people say it was.


48 posted on 09/29/2005 7:07:08 PM PDT by CODmaster_JYK
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To: TigerLikesRooster

Ummm... actually I that's not true. China during Mao's time was never as poor as these North Koreans are. There was this one period of starvation in China, but it wasn't even half as long as North Korea's starvation period.


49 posted on 09/29/2005 7:12:19 PM PDT by CODmaster_JYK
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