Over the past few months, we have watched Kim Jong Un do things we never imagined seeing happen in a million years. By the end of April, Jong Un becomes the first North Korean dictator to cross the heavily guarded border between North and South Korea along with South Korea’s President Moon. And just a little over a month later, President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un make history by holding their first diplomatic meeting in Singapore. Since then, we have seen many reports of rapid progression in North Korea — removing anti-U.S. propaganda, visiting China for the third time to brief Chinese president Xi Jinping on the Singapore summit and just today, cancelling its annual mass rally named “Day of Struggle against U.S. Imperialism” that promoted anti-U.S. beliefs and celebrated the start of the Korean War.
By the looks of it alone, it seems as if North Korea is ready to start improving itself. While this is excellent news, this does not erase the damage and oppression done to the citizens of North Korea in the recent past by Kim Jong Un. Back in 2014, a former North Korean citizen recalled his three-year experience in the prison camps with gruesome illustrations depicting the conditions of the camp. According to the former prisoner, the guards would force the prisoners in impossibly agonizing positions, such as balancing on one foot while holding two blocks of concrete hanging on your wrist. Sometimes they would be held in those positions for three days. Prisoners were barely given any food, so they forced themselves to eat rats and snakes. But sometimes, if they were unlucky, the rats would eat them. Female prisoners were raped, and if they gave birth, were forced to murder their own babies.
But beyond sexual assault in the prison camps, it was thriving in the Kim Jong Un’s inner circle. Reports stated Kim Jong Un spent approximately 3.4 million dollars on lingerie in 2016 for a private team of girls named the ‘manjokcho’ which translates to ‘satisfaction team.’ Officials in 2015 were sent looking for girls to entertain Kim Jong Un. Many were cherry-picked from school at the mere ages of 14. They were then trained to massage his body and feed him foods like caviar — when the general North Korean population starved on rats and dragonflies. Kim Jong Un exploited their bodies and forced the girls to sleep with him and if they refused, they would ‘disappear.’ If they became impregnated, they would ‘disappear’ too. According to Toshimitsu Shigemura, a Japanese professor and journalist, who researches North Korea extensively, stated, “This has been going on under three generations of the Kim family ruling North Korea and it has become a tradition that is also a demonstration of the leader’s power over the people and his sexual power.”
While improvements have been made on North Korea’s relationship with the United States of America and other countries in Asia, it does not change the fact that Kim Jong Un is a tyrant that continuously exploits, persecutes and oppresses his own people, with no signs of remorse. North Korea’s government has time and time again been laden by reports of abusing human rights and has made a point to remain completely silent on these allegations. Kim Jong Un, as of recent news, is being praised by a good portion of the media while concentration camps, immoral prostitution and deliberate starvation continue to occur under his rule. Through the pictures and videos of Kim Jong Un crossing the border and greeting American government officials with a cheery smile plastered on his face, it’s hard to remember the devastating human rights record of the North Korean regime — so don’t praise him.
Photo: The Daily Beast