Jonathan Kay: Sketching North Korea’s sadism

Incredible account of the prison systems in North Korea.

National Post | Full Comment

Earlier this month, North Korea publicly executed as many as 80 citizens for such “crimes” as owning a Bible and watching Western movies. According to the South Korean newspaper JoongAng Ilbo, the executioners covered many of the victims’ heads with bags, and then machine-gunned them to death in front of a stadium crowd.

These are the sort of hideous mass punishments that once were commonly perpetrated in China under Mao, and the USSR under Stalin, during the age when great swathes of Europe and Asia were controlled by genocidal variants of communism and fascism. With its gulag network and totalitarian creed, North Korea remains a freakish throwback to that dark period, even as its democratic southern Korean neighbor churns out pop stars and flat-screen televisions.

Since the North Korean famine of the mid-1990s, the West has been waiting for this outlier prison-state to collapse. Yet the country keeps grinding…

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