Inside North Korea's forced labor camps
Brutal conditions brought to light
- Duration 5:06
- Date Apr 13, 2012
Brutal conditions brought to light
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North Korea and now after that attempt to send a satellite into or -- -- -- the total failure of the attention on this nuclear country causing all of us really to take a second look about what's happening what's really happening.
Inside its borders for some context the price this -- -- Could feed it nineteen million north Koreans for a year many of them starving.
And forced labor camps living in harsh conditions.
And fighting for scraps of food.
Escaped from camp fourteen is a new book about one man's remarkable journey from North Korea.
To free him in the west -- Blaine -- reports for PBS Frontline in as a contributor for the economist -- he's the writer.
Of that -- book plain nice have you with us today nice to be here tell -- a little bit about how you came to the story.
-- -- -- -- In 2008 and I had lunch with him and he had run out of money.
And he was thinking that he may have to go soon to live in the train station and -- And I wrote a piece about him that appeared in the Washington Post and got an enormous reaction.
And I ask him to go deeper on the story with me in a book and over the course of nine months he didn't want to do it but finally he agreed.
Now we're seeing a picture of mr.
Chen on on the screen marrying -- -- -- obviously taken a great deal of time to sit with him an -- and then there's so much information there what is the one thing you think our viewers should know about what's really happening.
Inside North Korea when it kinds of these camps.
I think they should know that there are five big concentration camps in North Korea.
And they've existed for a half a century about a 150000.
People living in the most extraordinary conditions.
Women are often raped and killed if they become pregnant.
It is and -- extraordinary situation that is hiding in plain sight.
She and agreed to go through the the misery of talking to me for two years about his life.
Because he wants Americans to become aware of this and I've been promoting the book in the past couple weeks.
And it's pretty clear that most Americans don't know that the camps exist.
What goes on inside them or what their purposes and it's important understand their purpose.
-- -- their purpose is to scare the hell out of everybody else in North Korea.
So that they tow the party line do what they're told.
And they've been pretty effective in that.
Jobs why do you think it hasn't received more attention.
I think because US policy has focused on the existential threat posed by North Korea.
Nuclear weapons and long range missiles has been found out as we've been following the past few days.
That the human rights issue is.
It will never go away because North Korea depends on repression to survive and to understand North Korea.
You have to know about these camps and know the nature of -- of the government.
It's Anderson says.
As were were following again the stories of the existential threat -- missions in the -- the missiles and nuclear power.
There's always that question about what the government should do next as far as sanctions.
And just curious your thoughts on that as as you see someone that has had to live underneath this regime.
Do you have any insight into how the sanctions are really affecting your your average North Korea and and how they're also affecting the government that's imprisoning them.
-- North Korea's heavily sanctioned now and has been for some time and to a certain extent it's immune to those sanctions.
It's -- patron as China and China can.
Ignore the sanctions and passed its its North Korea's key supplier of fuel.
And food and and other and other goods.
The ability of sanctions to do anything is limited however.
Financial sanctions on the government's ability to use the international banking system.
Is probably the most powerful leverage that the US and the international community would have.
And there's some thinking that human rights should be an issue if if North -- is unwilling to to improve the human rights situation.
To use that leverage of the international banking system let -- not being used now.
Real quick here do you ever have any doubt of the account I only have about thirty seconds but he's one person you've got his story at all.
Well I don't because he is one of about sixty people -- told very similar story of his body is covered with scars that are road map to the story he tells.
And virtually everyone has talked to him who's been in the camps and -- talked everybody else who's come out of the camps.
-- a story to be credible and consistent with what else is now.
I'm Blaine at what an interesting insight into and this world that very few know about a -- Harding is the author escape from camp 141 man's remarkable off.
When we're remarkable Odyssey from North Korea to freedom in the west is the fourth child -- thank you very much for for joining us today we appreciate it thank you.