This story is about a 23 year-old North Korean man named Shin Dong-hyuk. He escaped in 2005 from a political prison with the help of another man who died during the attempt.
In March 2003, Shin was transferred to the camp’s garment factory, a crowded, chaotic, stressful work site where 2,000 women and 500 men made military uniforms. Meals were skimpy, hours were endless, and Shin was always hungry. There was pressure to snitch on fellow prisoners.
In the garment factory, the superintendent wanted Shin to inform on an important new prisoner. Park Yong Chul…
As they walked the factory floor, Park told Shin that the giant country next door was called China. Its people were rapidly getting rich. He said that in the south there was another Korea. In South Korea, he said, everyone was already rich. Park explained the concept of money. He told Shin about the existence of television and computers and mobile phones. He explained that the world was round.
Much of what Park talked about, especially at the beginning, was difficult for Shin to understand or care about. What delighted him—what he kept begging Park for—were stories about food and eating. These were the stories that kept Shin up at night fantasizing about a better life. Freedom, in Shin’s mind, was just another word for grilled meat.”
North Korea is not the socialist heaven that idiots like Michael Moore claim it to be.