The North Korean underground

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The UK Guardian, via the Sydney Morning Herald, cites as evidence of an underground resistance movement in North Korea, the shooting of forbidden video tapes of public executions, an offense almost certainly punishable by death.

The man behind the videos is the former head of a North Korean resistance cell. He fled in January and is hiding in Bangkok, and does not want his name to be used for fear of reprisals against his wife and child, who are still in North Korea.

However, in an interview with the British television station Channel 4, screened on Monday, he said he ordered the filming of the executions in Hoeryong, in the north—east of the country.

The footage records the summary trial and execution on March 1 of two factory workers, Choi Jae—gon and Park Myeong—gil (another, shot on March 2, shows the execution of another man). Other videos show corpses on the streets of Pyongyang, the illegal sale of rice donated by the World Food Program, and casual brutality on trains.

But while the films expose cruelty and corruption, it is the countertrade in smuggled South Korean movies, showing how well people live under capitalism, that the cameraman believes are the greatest threat to the dictatorship.

North Korea is believed to be the most tightly controlled society on earth. The travel diaries of Westerners who have visited the country certainly reveal an astounding degree of montioring and control of Western visitors. The ability to tape and smuggle out recordings of forbidden subject matter argues that a certain degree of organized resistance exists.

An encouraging sign. But the odds seem impossible to overcome, if one were to even vaguely hope for an overthrow of the monstrous regime there.

Thomas Lifson  10 18 05

The UK Guardian, via the Sydney Morning Herald, cites as evidence of an underground resistance movement in North Korea, the shooting of forbidden video tapes of public executions, an offense almost certainly punishable by death.

The man behind the videos is the former head of a North Korean resistance cell. He fled in January and is hiding in Bangkok, and does not want his name to be used for fear of reprisals against his wife and child, who are still in North Korea.

However, in an interview with the British television station Channel 4, screened on Monday, he said he ordered the filming of the executions in Hoeryong, in the north—east of the country.

The footage records the summary trial and execution on March 1 of two factory workers, Choi Jae—gon and Park Myeong—gil (another, shot on March 2, shows the execution of another man). Other videos show corpses on the streets of Pyongyang, the illegal sale of rice donated by the World Food Program, and casual brutality on trains.

But while the films expose cruelty and corruption, it is the countertrade in smuggled South Korean movies, showing how well people live under capitalism, that the cameraman believes are the greatest threat to the dictatorship.

North Korea is believed to be the most tightly controlled society on earth. The travel diaries of Westerners who have visited the country certainly reveal an astounding degree of montioring and control of Western visitors. The ability to tape and smuggle out recordings of forbidden subject matter argues that a certain degree of organized resistance exists.

An encouraging sign. But the odds seem impossible to overcome, if one were to even vaguely hope for an overthrow of the monstrous regime there.

Thomas Lifson  10 18 05