North Korea is possibly the least accessible, and "the most brutal and repressive country in the world." (Martin, 2006) Since its formation after World War II very little information has left the country. What has left are the defectors and the stories of horrible atrocities against humanity the government is bestowing upon its citizens. Classified as a democracy, it is just a mask hiding the Kim Dynasty's totalitarian ways. With its ideology of "Juche," they have relied as little as possible on outside help. They rule and produce on the inside, with only the close to communist China being its biggest factor for production of money. Human rights are completely unheard of, and reports of torture within its reform camps are common from those that flee and escape Kim's grip. Humanitarian aid is being pulled, and the country has started to show some of its nuclear power to the world. While these are just some of the issues at hand, North Korea's dignitaries show no sign that they have broken all human rights laws, and that the country is in a state of economic need. HISTORY OF KOREA/NORTH KOREA
North Korea's hatching started in the late nineteenth century. At this time the peninsula was just one Korea; its monarchs created the "Hermit Kingdom" by closing its doors to foreign push-and-pull. However, Japanese influence on Korea was very strong as was China's presence and sheer size and power on the country. Russian's also planned to gain from the peninsula economically. These giants held fierce competition against each other which sparked several wars. In 1894 and 1895 there was the Sino-Japanese War, and later, from 1904 to 1905 was the Russo-Japanese War. After Japans victories against Russia and the Chinese, Korea became part of the Japanese Empire when it was annexed in 1910. (USC-UCLA; North Korea Profile, 2006)
Japan ruled Korea with a sharp authority, attempting to wipe all the Koreans had previously known and believed including culture, as well as language. While small Korean uprisings had intended to bring down Japanese control, the Japanese did not lose power of Korea until the end of World War II. With the Soviet Union and the United States the two occupiers of Korea, an agreement on the future government of Korea was not settled. Korea was split into two, with the United States governing the South and the USSR overseeing the North. With the hope to unify them again up to the UN, it was made improbably due to the separate countries political, economical and social goals. Thus the south formed the Republic of Korea and the north, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea in 1948. Kim-Il Sung became the leader of the North through the Korean War, North Korea's attempt to take control of South Korea, from 1950 to 1953. The war was only ended when Korean War Armistice Agreement was signed, and the Demilitarized Zone on the 38th parallel was formed. 2.5 million people died in the Korean War. (N.K. Profile)
North Korea functions as a single-party state under a democratic framework. However, according to the "Economist Intelligence Unit Democracy Index 2006," North Korea is ranked as the least democratic and most authoritative on its list of the more than 150 countries that are democratic. North Korea's Constitution does protect human rights, as well as democracy, most power falls onto the de facto leader, Kim Jong-Il. (N.K. Profile) Under his rule, the country falls to this low-point of democracy and into a totalitarian dictatorship.
Instead of list his country as Communist, or admit to influences of Marxism and Stalinism, Kim Il-Sung used "Juche" ideology to define how the political system would work. Juche can be translated as "self-reliance." Juche includes three key principles that are: "Independence in politics, self-sustenance in the economy, and self-defense in national defense." The main goal of building under Juche is to establish socialism and communism within the borders of...
References: Martin, B. (2006) Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader: North Korea and the Kim Dynasty. St. Martin 's Press
Dodds, K. (2007, February). NORTH KOREA. Geographical
North Korea Profile
Lee, Soon-Ok. (2002, May). Statement of Sun-Ok Lee, Former Prison and Camp Survivor.
Testimony to the United States Government
Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2005: North Korea. (2006, March) U.S. Department of State. Retreived on October 27th from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2005/61612.htm
Freedom House Country Report: North Korea (2006). Retrieved October 12th, 2007 from
Hawk, David. (2003). The Hidden Gulag: Exposing North Korea 's Prison Camps Prisoners ' Testimonies and Satellite Photographs. U.S. Committee for Human Rights in North Korea. http://www.hrnk.org/hiddengulag/toc.html.
Kang, Chol-Hwan. (2001, December). 5,000 Prisoners Massacred at Onsong Concentration Camp in 1987. Retreived October 13th, 2007 from http://english.chosun.com/w21data/html/news/200212/200212110038.html
LiNK: Liberty in North Korea
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