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North Korean Propaganda

North Korean Propaganda | Camp 14 | Scoop.it
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This image shows the Korean decoy city of Kijong-dong. This city, at one point, placed near the South Korean border, was used as a propaganda town. It was fully equipped with a childcare center, kindergarten, primary and secondary schools, and a hospital. But, with modern technology, it can be observed that the buildings "are just concrete shells lacking window glass or even interior rooms, with building lights turned on and off at set times and empty sidewalks swept by caretakers in an effort to preserve the illusion of activity" to encourage South Korean's to defect to the North.

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Technology

Technology | Camp 14 | Scoop.it
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This satellite image shows how 'in the dark' North Korea is compared to the surrounding countries. North Korea, following a communist/socialist government, has an economy 100's of times smaller than that of South Korea. Except for the elites in Pyongyang, the capital, most citizens go without electricity.

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Children of the Secret State North Korea - YouTube

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The documentary, Children of the Secret State, describes the extent of the food shortages in North Korea, and the effect it has on it's citizens and more specifically, it's children. The film opens with images of skeleton-like orphan boys and girls so weak that they can barely speak. They are surrounded by adults with food who ignore the children. Food, due to a combination of factors: famine, lack of arable land, weather, etc is in very short supply in North Korea. Disturbingly, the lack of food, as it is told in an interview of a defector, has caused some people to resort to cannibalism. Human flesh is rumored to be sold at some markets and street vendors, but North Korean's are so hungry that they don't question the meat they buy. Also, the documentary explains that a substantial proportion of the arable farmland in North Korea is used to grow opium, which is turned into Cocaine, which is in turn sold, all the profits going to the ruling party. Instead of using this much-needed land to feed it's people, North Korea is more worried about making money. Foreign efforts have and continue to be made to import food into the country to give to the needy. However, due to the government's refusal to let these relief groups distribute the food themselves, much of the food ends up in the hands of the government and the black market. In first hand interviews with defectors in China, many stressed how much hunger affected them and those around them while living in North Korea. They claim that starvation occurred all around them, daily.

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CRISIS: 1 In 4 North Korean Children Suffer From Malnutrition

CRISIS: 1 In 4 North Korean Children Suffer From Malnutrition | Camp 14 | Scoop.it
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — More than a fourth of all North Korean children are stunted from chronic malnutrition, and two-thirds of the country's 24 million people don't know where their next meal is coming from, the United Nations said Friday. The report illustrates a major domestic challenge for North Korea's new young leader, Kim Jong Un. A team from the U.N.'s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, reporting from North Korea, found that 2.8 million North Koreans "are in need of regular food assistance amidst worrying levels of chronic malnutrition and food insecurity." It said 4 percent of North Korean children are acutely malnourished. The report did not directly mention North Korea's recent threats against South Korea, its threat of a pre-emptive nuclear strike against the U.S. or Pyongyang's claim to have abolished the Korean War armistice as of Monday. But the report said humanitarian aid should be neutral and impartial "and must not be contingent on political developments." The OCHA team also found that much of North Korea's support structure is crumbling under the third generation of Kim family rule. "Supplies of medicine and equipment are inadequate; water and heating systems need repair, and the infrastructure of schools and colleges is deteriorating rapidly," the report said. With little arable land, harsh weather and chronic shortages of fuel and equipment, North Korea has struggled for decades to feed its 24 million people.
David Kozich's insight:

In the article, the author reveals the current state of North Korea's ability to feed its people. It opens with a jarring statistic, "More than a fourth of all North Korean children are stunted from chronic malnutrition, and two-thirds of the country's 24 million people don't know where their next meal is coming from". Because of the lack of arable land, the crazy weather, and a variety of other factors, North Korea is in an ongoing struggle to feed it's citizens. The UN stresses the importance of international aid even withstanding the recent threats North Korea has imposed on the US and South Korea, the reasoning being that the citizens should not suffer for their leaders' actions. Although, after visiting all of the major agricultural provinces, a UN team estimates that "507,000 metric tons of cereals"  would have had to have been imported for North Korea to meet it's food quota last year. The UN has suggested that allowing farmers to sell their surplus food instead of turning the excess over to the government would provide an incentive for farmers to boost production. The article goes on to say that lack of modern equipment has forced farmers to rely on manual labor, hurting production.

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Liberty in North Korea

Liberty in North Korea | Camp 14 | Scoop.it
The North Korean PEOPLE have massive potential to drive change in their country. We exist to empower the PEOPLE.
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Liberty in North Korea is an activist group whose mission statement is "We exist to empower the North Korean PEOPLE as they drive progress inside their country". LINK is dedicated to spreading the word about the injustices happening in North Korea. They work with, house, and help employ North Korean refugees. They also work to aid the escape of North Koreans from their country. Currently, their website reports that LINK has rescued 231 North Koreans into safety. "We rescue refugees without cost or condition & ensure their safety & dignity on their journey to freedom", it reads on their website. They also have created programs designed to  "empower resettled refugees to reach their full potential". This includes tutoring services, educational scholarships, housing, and more. Link is an organization striving for change in a twisted country.

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Orphans of North Korea

Orphans of North Korea | Camp 14 | Scoop.it
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This image displays the poverty rampant in North Korea and especially in children. There are many orphan children that wander the streets in search of food. Due to malnutrition, they are usually very skinny and weak. The adults, so used to seeing theses orphans, ignore the hungry children around them.

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Map of North Korea

Map of North Korea | Camp 14 | Scoop.it
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North Korea Borders China on the a north side of the country and borders South Korea on its southern border. Travel in or out of North Korea is extremely difficult and is only available for high government officials.  Both the Northern and Southern borders are heavily guarded and escaping or attempting to escape is considered an offense worthy of death.

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Escape from Camp 14

Escape from Camp 14 | Camp 14 | Scoop.it
A New York Times bestseller, the shocking story of one of the few people born in a North Korean political prison to have escaped and surv...
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In Escape From Camp 14, we meet Shin, a boy born into one of North Korea's political prison camps, Camp 14. In camp 14, prisoners are rewarded for good behavior and snitching often times by being matched with a spouse and getting to breed with them four times a year. Shin was created as a result of this reward given to his parents who were not born into the camp. Never having seen the real world, Shin has been indoctrinated to believe that he is an animal, being punished for his parents sins. He doesn't see his mother as family, he sees her as competition for food. He is taught to trust no one, and snitch on anyone breaking the rules. The rules they live by although not entirely enforced, if not followed, result in the death penalty. These rules include not to escape, not to steal, not to meet with more than 1 other prisoner, obeying the guards unconditionally, reporting and snitching on people observed participating in suspicious or prohibited actions, intermingling between the sexes, and repenting their errors. One day, Shin comes home after more than a couple months to find his mother and brother plotting to escape. Having no emotional attachment to his family, he is disgusted that they would risk his own life to escape. As a result of escaping, remaining family members are horribly punished often with death. Shin, the good snitch that he was, ran back to his school and told a guard on duty about the plot. Soon Shin was brought to an underground prison to be questioned. He was questioned, tortured, left in poor conditions for months because the guard took credit for revealing the plot without mentioning Shin. There he met another prisoner, born outside of the camp, who told him all about life outside of the Camp, but Shin was most interested in the tales of food, how plentiful it is, how varied it is, and how flavorful it is, in the real world. Soon, all is cleared as a friend vouched for Shin, confirming his story. He is brought to his mother and brother's execution, where he sees them hung and shot. After many years, Shin meets a former high ranked Taekwondo teacher who was sent into the camp for leaving North Korea. This man gives Shin the will and the aspiration to escape Camp 14 as he paints a picture of a better world outside the barbed wire fences. They plot an escape during a tree cutting day near the fence and attempt to escape. When trying to go under the fence, Shin's friend is badly electrocuted and dies. Shin uses his body as a buffer between the fence and manages to climb below the fence with minimal injuries. Shin soon becomes one of the many homeless, wandering youth of North Korea and is able to blend in and steal to stay alive. Later, Shin with the money he was able to gather bribes the North Korean border guards and is able to leave the country into China. He then works many small jobs and makes his way to the South Korean Consulate where he is granted citizenship to South Korea. Since then Shin has had a tough time adapting to the world outside of Camp 14. He has since moved to America, spreading the news about the horrors of the North Korean prison camps.

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North Korea caste system 'underpins human rights abuses' - Telegraph

North Korea caste system 'underpins human rights abuses'  - Telegraph | Camp 14 | Scoop.it
A hereditary caste-based system under which North Korea ranks its citizens based on their family political background has long underpinned the country's human rights abuses, a new study claims.
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In the article, the author describes the caste system, known as 'Songbun' that defines the lives of everyone on in North Korea. There are three social classes within Songbun: 'loyal', 'wavering,' and 'hostile'. The Committee for Human Rights in North Korea described Songbun as so-- "Every North Korean citizen is assigned a heredity-based class and sociopolitical rank over which the individual exercises no control but which determines all aspects of his or her life". The "loyalists", as they are known as, are usually decedents of people that opposed Japan's 1910-45 colonial rule of Korea and families of soldiers killed in the 1950-53 Korean War. They enjoy many benefits, such as the ability to live in the capital, better access to food, improved housing, availability of education, more career freedom, and better healthcare. On the opposite end, the "hostiles", are decedents/relatives of "people who collaborated with Japan or opposed state founder Kim Il-sung", families of escapees, businessmen, religious figures, and landowners. Members of this group have essentially been 'banished' to remote areas of the country where they perform hard labor, are given meager rations, are subjected to high surveillance, along with many other obstacles. In the middle, there is the 'wavering class'. they usually born into "families of artisans, small shopkeepers and traders, those repatriated from China and intellectuals educated under Japanese rule". Like many other caste systems in history, increasing social status is rare, although becoming more common with the introduction of 'food markets'. On the other hand, decreasing in social status can happen in the blink of the eye.

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Young North Korean Defectors Struggle in the South

Young North Korean Defectors Struggle in the South | Camp 14 | Scoop.it
Attempts at integration, including education at top universities, have had mixed results, leaving many North Koreans unable to adapt to South Korea’s hard-charging society.
David Kozich's insight:

In the article, the author describes the difficult adaption a North Korean defector must make once he arrives in South Korea. The defectors are haunted by the horrible events they experienced while still in Korea and many times are unable to function in South Korean society due to this PTSD. A first-hand account of a real North Korean defector is given in the article. Kim Seong-cheol made it to South Korea after living an impoverished, food-less, and traumatizing life in the North. The article indicates that defectors that reach South Korea are given entrance into top universities with full tuition paid, as well as government-paid housing and living stipends. But, as is the case with many defectors, Kim was overwhelmed with the ultra-competitive South Korean society and dropped out of his university after just one semester, saying, “I just couldn’t shake the memory of hunger from my mind,”. He fell into a deep depression and alcohol addiction. In addition to the haunting memories of life in North Korea, defectors become frustrated as they can't keep up with their South Korean peers in their prestigious universities. The article states that North Koreans, "have at most a few years of elementary school education more focused on political indoctrination than reading and math". They feel out of place, like they are aliens from another planet. In a great quote from Kim, he says, “I felt like someone from the 1970s who was put on a time machine and dropped in the 21st century”. The defectors essentially have a culture shock. In fact, it is estimated that due to the inability to cope with their PTSD, the stress of the competitive South Korea, and the strange new culture they have been drowned in, more than half of all North Korean defectors drop out of school

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