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There are very few positive things one can say about the North Korean communist regime. For years they have lashed out at their neighbors, openly defied any request made of them, and worst of all they basically imprisoned all of their people with the fear of death.
Shin Dong Hyuk, who grew up in one of North Korea’s worst prison camps, is one of the few have have broken North Korean law and lived to tell of it.
The interview Shin Dong Hyuk gave upon successfully escaping the prison camp is truly chilling and one of the darkest looks into North Korea I have ever read.
The one thing that is a constant through everything you will read about North Korea, is that the punishment for breaking any rule, is almost always death.
“Resistance is simply unthinkable.”
Here are the 10 rules of the prison camp, as translated from Shin Dong Hyuk:
Camp Rules: The 10 Commandments
1. Do not attempt to escape. The punishment is death.
2. Never gather in groups of over three people or move around without the guard’s authorization. The punishment for unauthorized movement is death.
3. Do not steal. If one steals or possesses weapons, the punishment is death. The punishment for failure to report the theft or possession of weapons is death.
4. Obey your guards. If one rebels or hits a guard, the punishment is death.
5. If you see outsiders, or suspicious-looking people, report them immediately. The punishment for abetting in the hiding of outsiders is death.
6. Keep an eye on your fellow prisoners and report inappropriate behavior without delay. One should criticize others for inappropriate behavior, and also conduct thorough self-criticism in revolutionary ideology class.
7. Fulfill your assigned duties. The punishment for rebelling against one’s duties is death.
8. Men and women may not be together outside the workplace. The punishment for unauthorized physical contact between a man and a woman is death.
9. Admit and confess your wrongdoings. The punishment for disobedience and refusal to repent is death.
10. The punishment for violating camp laws and rules is death.
Google actually hosted an education conversation about North Korea that included Shin Dong Hyuk. It is very long, but really worth the watch.
You can jump to around 20 minutes to get right to the interview with Shin.
(Youtube has been acting up so you can view the video on Youtube if it says unavailable above.)
The sadest part is around 26 minutes when they ask him to talk about his torture. So painful is the memory he cannot openly speak about it without reading it from his own writings.
Read more about Shin Dong Hyuk’s recounts of life in North Korea’s most brutal prison camp and how he finally managed to escape.