The North Korean regime's obsession with racial purity has led to the killing of disabled infants and forced abortions for women suspected of conceiving their babies by Chinese fathers, according to a growing body of testimony from defectors.
The latest description of Kim Jong-il's policy of state eugenics came from a North Korean doctor, Ri Kwang-chol, who escaped last year and told a forum in Seoul that babies with deformities were killed soon after birth. His account added to the evidence that the Kim family dictatorship is founded on mystical notions of Korean racial superiority rather than Marxism - a reality that explains its deepening estrangement from China.
North Korean women refugees have emerged with stories that speak of the regime's preoccupation with "deviant" sexual relations and its predisposition to violence in dealing with them. One such account came from a 30-year-old woman who calls herself Han Myong-suk. She escaped twice and reached a safe haven in an undisclosed third country within the past year thanks to Helping Hands Korea, an American Christian group. She said she was sold by traffickers to a Chinese farmer near the Great Wall, and was five months pregnant by him when she was caught by the Chinese police and deported back to North Korea.
Her account was taken down by Tim Peters, an American Christian activist who founded the group. "I defied the order to abort the fetus the prison authorities contemptuously called a 'Chinese Chink' and was badly beaten and kicked in my belly by a guard.”
One week later, said Ms Han, she was led to a prison clinic "where in a most blunt manner they extracted the dead child from my body".
[Excerpt of an article in The Australian, by Michael Sheridan]