A rare piece of fiction from one of the world’s most repressive regimes reaches English speakers for the first time this week, Reuters reports:
The Accusation is thought to be the first fiction published abroad by someone still living in North Korea. Its author is pseudonymous North Korean writer Bandi, and its English translator is Deborah Smith, who won the Man Booker International Prize …. In seven short stories written between 1989 and 1995, ending with the death of Kim Il-Sung, Bandi shows a world of paranoia and police chases. He portrays a rigid social hierarchy based on one’s family history with the Workers’ Party of Korea, and furtive phone calls with government officials demanding colleagues to inform on one another. The people in The Accusation live out a nightmare scenario in a legendarily despotic regime.
Seoul is adopting a useful strategy to undermine the Kim regime, David Feith writes for The Wall Street Journal:
Hours before the latest round of North Korean missile tests Monday, South Korea announced plans to increase payments to defectors from the North who can offer classified information, quadrupling the reward to a handsome $860,000. Inducing Pyongyang’s elites to defect isn’t easy, not least because Kim Jong Un punishes family members left behind. But Seoul’s move shows welcome recognition that the key to stopping the North Korean regime is to hasten its collapse.
The International Coalition to Stop Crimes against Humanity in North Korea (ICNK) today announced its support for two new United Nations reports calling for the international community to hold the North Korean government accountable for crimes against humanity, notes Human Rights Watch:
The group of independent experts on accountability, appointed by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights at the request of the Human Rights Council last year with a specific mandate to explore approaches to accountability, asserted that “investigation and prosecution of serious crimes is critical.” The group called for “measures to ensure the right of victims to reparations, the right of victims and society to know the truth about violations, and guarantees of non-recurrence of violations.”
“The North Korean government and its leaders should face justice for their crimes against humanity, which continue to this day,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “We urge the UN Human Rights Council to respond positively to the special rapporteur’s call that the recommendations of the group of independent experts be implemented without delay.”
North Korea’s Hidden Gulag IV: Gender Repression and Prisoner Disappearances is one of several citations from Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK) in the U.S. State Department’s annual report on global human rights.
The suspects associated with Kim Jong Nam’s assassination are presumed to be affiliated with the Ministry of State Security and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Air Koryo, the North’s state-run airline company, and Singwang Economics and Trading General Corporation, DailyNK reports. However, details of the incident show a number of deviations from the typical methods used in North Korea’s intelligence operations.
“[E]ncouraging a transformation of China’s policy toward North Korea should be the next administration’s top priority in its relations with China,” states a Council on Foreign Relations Task Force Report on North Korea.