A North Korean defector revealed in an interview how North Korea uses food in a country wreaked by malnutrition to control its people.
Jihyun Park, a North Korean defector living in Britain, revealed details of North Korea’s indoctrination techniques in a Skype interview with United Press International.
Park was incarcerated in a North Korean political prisoner camp after China sent her back to the North following a forced marriage to a Chinese national.
She says her experience in the concentration camp made her see the extent to which North Korea has a grip on its people.
Park compared the system of working for food instead of money to slavery. “North Korea is not a socialist country,” she said. “it is a slave state.”
Jihyun Park, a North Korean defector and activist based in Britain, told UPI Wednesday in a Skype interview that North Korea’s public food distribution system has encumbered the ability of North Korean refugees to cope with South Korea’s capitalist economy.
“North Korea is a distribution country,” Park said. “The government always gave us food.”
While the distribution of “free” staples such as rice, barley or corn precluded the need for currency, North Korea founder Kim Il Sung used the public distribution system to control the population.
Park said a system in which you are given food as compensation, instead of payments in currency, is slavery.
North Korea used this system to keep the people in check, Park said.
“If you work you would be given something to eat,” Park said. “If you don’t work, you don’t get to eat.”
The defector said the system is comparable to slavery in the American South, where those enslaved enjoyed few material benefits aside from basic housing, rationed food and cotton clothing.
“The North Korean system is responsible for defectors who are unable to adjust,” Park said. “Capitalism in the South is totally different from the North.”
Defectors in the South are known to struggle in menial jobs in an unfamiliar social environment and cope with discrimination.
North Korean workers are given housing and rationed food and clothing as compensation for their work. The dictatorship is disguised as a provider, and North Koreans are indoctrinated to believe that the State is their caregiver.
Human rights are nonexistent in the North. Famine, malnutrition, and disease, blamed on outside forces, wreck the population. Dissent is punished by imprisonment while censorship and state propaganda leave North Korea’s residents without an understanding of freedom or working for more than staving off starvation.
The means for population control used by North Korea often cause defectors to have a difficult time adjusting to life outside the state. Travel abroad is banned for the North’s citizens, but escapees struggle to adjust.
Park escaped the state after she was released from the prison camp. Ill, and seemingly close to death, guards wanted her to “die outside the prison camp.”
She says her experience in the camp fully awakened her to the reality of mind control in North Korea. She says some defectors, who have a hard time with life outside of North Korea, still haven’t grasped what was done to them.
United Press International continues:
Her experience in a North Korean prison camp and disease pushed her to gain “real insight into the reality of North Korea.”
“It is people like us who have been forcibly repatriated to the North,” Park said. “What we realized is that it is a country run by dictators.”
“We also realize North Korea is not a socialist country, it is a slave state.”
Defectors who speak fondly of North Korea have not had the bitter experience of rights abuses or walking with bleeding bare feet while laboring in a North Korean prison camp, Park said.
Park, who said she was released while ill because guards wanted her to “die outside the prison camp,” also said North Korea will not give up its weapons of mass destruction.
The 48-year-old defector said during her university days in the ’80s the state was teaching students about the “need for nuclear weapons” […]
“The reason Kim Jong Un is threatening the United States with nuclear weapons, is to impress North Koreans,” Park said. “He’s trying to gain the support of the people.”
Much of the world is often shocked when Kim Jong Un makes wild, threatening statements, saying he will attack South Korea, Japan, and above all, the United States with nuclear weapons.
His outlandish threats to turn the U.S. into a “sea of flames” are made to impress the North Korean people with power.
Controlling them is even more important to Kim Jong Un than frightening us.