Saturday, November 25, 2006

False image created by the North Korean capitol, Pyongyang

People who have visited Pyongyang for sightseeing report that they saw no signs of a bad food situation. Sightseers to Pyongyang will find lots of food, beer and other beverages, fruits, and candies.

Without a special permit specifically indicating the necessity for a visit, ordinary citizens of North Korea are prohibited from access to Pyongyang. And they long ago expelled every physically handicapped person from Pyongyang.

We would be quite happy if the starvation were simply a vicious rumor spread by anti-communists, and if the people in North Korea were really living in comfort.

Unfortunately, however, the truth is different. The food shortage worsened after 1990, and especially so after 1994. Rations were completely stopped [in most of the country]. Workers do not go to work. Children do not go to school; instead, they go to the hills in their neighborhoods and try to fill their stomachs with grass.

Murders and the sale of human flesh in markets were no longer uncommon.

Drowned bodies of people who had starved to death have been found floating in the rivers at the border - bodies so swollen from being in the water that their clothes had split. I directly heard the following story in China from one of the priests who care for [North Korean] orphans. Dead bodies become caught in the reeds and grass along the riverbank on the Chinese side, where they gave off a foul smell. The priests cannot stand the stench, and in one month alone they had to dig fifteen graves along the riverside to bury the decomposed bodies of starved victims.


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