North Korea

Searching for a coffee mug or t-shirt celebrating the North Korean regime, or a giant flag to display on your front lawn? The official Cafepress shop of the Korean Friendship Association (a sort…


imagesGrimly close to a real-life version of everyone’s favorite dystopian novel/movie? Guernica on author Shin Dong-hyuk, who in 2005 slipped out of North Korea through a hole in an high-voltage fence:

Born into one of North Korea’s six “complete control districts” (labor camps), which have remained virtually unnoticed by the global community despite their visibility on Google Earth, Shin was born stripped of his humanity. Classified as “irredeemable” because of an uncle’s crime against the state (fleeing the country after the Korean War), Shin was regularly overworked, abused, and starved. In Camp 14, an isolated compound about 30 miles long, Shin was taught to believe that violence was normal and snitching a duty.

When. at the age of 13, he discovered that his mother and older brother were planning an escape attempt, he promptly told a prison guard. Shin’s mother and brother were brought in front of the crowded camp and shot.



Could between a quarter and half of the North Korean population be meth users? SINO-NK reports: Though the North Korean government would never admit to outsiders that there is a drug problem…


Dead TwitterReports Lucas Shaw via Reuters:

Did social media just prematurely kill off the leader of North Korea?

Rumors that Kim Jong-un, the country’s supreme leader, has been assassinated just months after he took power originated on Chinese microblogging service Weibo and have now spread all over Twitter.

Others are reporting that Jong-un, believed to be 28 years old, may be on the run rather than dead, but both reports claim that some kind of coup is taking place.

One person on Weibo wrote (loose translation): “north korea’s biggest leader kim jung un, this morning in beijing time 2:45 am, had his residence broken into and was assassinated by unidentified people, who were shot dead by his bodyguards in korea’s embassy in beijing, vehicles are rapidly increasing in number, and have surpassed 30 of them, this sort of battle formation hasn’t been seen in over two years. please verify this.”






What happens when your godlike, iron-fisted leader ceases to exist? Mass weeping, collapsing, and hysteria in public. Extremely disturbing scenes of existential confusion sweeping the streets of North Korea, providing a lesson in the psychology of totalitarianism. I could seriously imagine this leading to mass suicide:


Kim Jong-ilReports David Chance and Jack Kim of Reuters:

North Korean leader Kim Jong-il died of a heart attack while on a train trip, state media reported on Monday, sparking immediate concern over who is in control of the reclusive state and its nuclear program.

A tearful television announcer dressed in black said the 69-year old had died on Saturday of physical and mental over-work on his way to give “field guidance” — a reference to advice dispensed by the “Dear Leader” on his trips to factories, farms and military bases.

Kim Jong-un, Kim Jong-il’s youngest son, was named by North Korea’s official news agency KCNA as the “great successor” to his father, which lauded him as “the outstanding leader of our party, army and people.”








A group of North Koreans have been risking their  lives secretly filming within the regime’s borders. Smuggling tapes across the Chinese border, they hopes to expose the condition of North Korean life to a global audience. From The Telegraph:


New images have been captured of Kim Jong Un, the son of Kim Jong Il, and the new heir in North Korea. The Wall Street Journal reports:

The first public images of Kim Jong Un as an adult, released Thursday by North Korean state media, showed the son of dictator Kim Jong Il bearing a striking resemblance to his father and grandfather, putting to rest one of the biggest mysteries about the nation’s heir apparent—what he looks like today.

The younger Kim, believed to be 26 or 27 years old, stood out in sea of older faces in video images and a photo of top North Korean officials taken Tuesday at a meeting of more than 1,000 representatives of the ruling Workers’ Party.

[continues at The Wall Street Journal]

Via Associated Press:



After the launch of North Korea’s YouTube channel (majority of which are postings of government propaganda) the country has created a Twitter account. It’s nice to see that North Korea is taking…


South Korea has begun using robots to survey and, if necessary, fire at intruders crossing the DMZ line from the North. It is operated by soldiers who verify intruders through audio visual…