Wed, 11 July 2012
The rogue nation of North Korea is known for its many secrets, from its nuclear program to the living conditions of the majority of its population. One of the most closely guarded secrets is that of its ill-fated labor camps. Until recently, the conditions of those living in these labor camps, often referred to as forms of modern day slavery, have scarcely been documented.
Blaine Harden, author and former East Asia bureau chief for The Washington Post, will discuss one person’s experience in a North Korean labor camp and what it tells us about living within the North Korean regime. In his new work, Escape From Camp 14, Harden documents two years of interviews with Shin Dong-hyuk in which he describes Shin’s experiences and his determination to adjust to a new life of freedom in the West. Shin is the only person born and raised in one of North Korea’s camps known to have escaped, and his story is one of intense hardship and survival. Shin’s account provides a unique perspective on the desperate conditions in these labor camps where up to 200,000 prisoners are estimated to live, and which the regime claims do not exist.