When Your Own Prison Camps Just Won’t Do

(WARNING: Adult Language in the video links from this post)

A few weeks ago I wrote (and tweeted!) at length about the North Korean prison camp system. But did you know North Koreans don’t always work in labor camps inside their own country?

No sometimes the Dear Leader, and now his son, ship them to Russia instead.

That’s right: Russia allows North Korea to build and operate labor camps, complete with all the propaganda, inside their own borders.

VICE rather famously reported on North Korea a while back in their VICE Guide series, depicting their tense and bizarre tour of the country. I would recommend that series before watching the next one they did on North Korea, which takes them deep into Siberia to talk with North Korean labor camp officials and even some of the workers.

Part travel guide on the Trans-Siberian Railroad, part investigative journalism, the series shows the darker side of the logging industry in Russia – an industry that reaches around the globe – and reveals how much Russia is willing to protect the North Koreans’ wishes there, even as individual Russians may feel sorry for the workers and want them to receive better treatment.

The series lasts for 7 parts, with each part taking 5-7 minutes. If you want a shortcut, they arrive at the camps in Part 3.

Here’s a link to the first segment. VICE’s site will automatically redirect you to the next part of the series after each video.

And thanks to Ben L and Ben L (who don’t know each other but who are clearly alike in many ways) for the idea!

Which reminds me: if you have ideas for me to blog about, send them my way! I love the help.

One Response to “When Your Own Prison Camps Just Won’t Do”
  1. Ben Laird says:

    Callout, woot! Seriously though, the most shocking (before I really thought about it) aspect to me of the whole book was the statistics about South Korea’s indifference toward the North. I couldn’t believe that so few thought that helping the North was a priority…but thinking about it, I can at least understand their thought process. If the North were freed, it would be a huge victory on the moral front, but imagine the economic pains that would follow in acclimating millions to the ‘real’ world. Like post Soviet East/West Germany. The West has been propping up the East for more than 20 years now, costing billions…and the East was waayyy better off than North Korea is now. I’m not supporting their indifference, but I guess I do understand why they (and China for that matter) would be very wary.

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