Have you ever visited a country which functions more like a prison? A country where internet is banned and televisions are a thing its citizens can only dream of? A country, where opposing the leader can land you and your entire family in prison? Well then, welcome to the country of North Korea.
The Democratic People’s republic of Korea, the official name of the country, is ironically ranked as the least democratic country in the world. Out of the 120 countries surveyed for human rights, North Korea ranks 118. The country is known for its human rights abuses. It follows a three generation punishment system, i.e. for the crimes of a person, the person’s parents and grandparents are imprisoned too.
There are a number of towers on the North Korean border, if it is viewed from any of its neighbouring countries.. What are these towers? These towers are signal jammers, so that no foreign broadcasts may enter the country, and no signal from within the country may go outside. Citizens have basically no contact with the outside world.
In the year 1991, the soviet union collapsed and North Korea lost the only country which provided it with funds. This, along with a famine that hit the country in 1994, left the country in shambles. An estimated 3.5 million people died in that period and the country has not yet recovered from the downfall. Tourists who visit the country regularly spot people eating grass from parks and searching for grains
in the dirt.
So why don’t the citizens leave the country? That’s because, they have very limited and extremely risky options of defecting the country. The country shares its border with two countries, one with China and the other with South Korea. The border between the two koreas is the most heavily guarded border on earth, with an estimated 2 million troops on both sides. The border itself is 5km wide. To cross this border, a north Korean would have to circumvent a series of check points, walk through a field of landmines, climb over an electric fence and then climb over a wall 5m high, all while ensuring that a border guard does not spot him and shoot him dead. Hence the only possible escape route is through China. Those unlucky north Koreans who are caught in China are sent back to North Korea. These people, are put into political prison camps, where they are subjected to torture. Also, the country focuses on brainwashing children, to instill fear of the consequences of defecting the country. Children as young as 8 are shown public executions.
Finally, what can other countries do to help the north Korean citizens? The answer is, nothing. The only way out of this is if the North Koreans themselves revolt against the leader and overthrow this brutal regime.