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October 11, 2005
Kang Cheol Hwan talk notes
Cross-posted at Andrés Gentry.
On September 27 Kang Cheol Hwan gave a talk and question and answer session at the Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies at UCSD. He spent 10 years in a concentration camp in North Korea and after escaping North Korea eventually became a journalist for the Chosun Ilbo. He is on a speaking tour of the United States talking about conditions in North Korea as well as promoting his book, The Aquariums of Pyongyang. His speaking tour is sponsered by LiNK (blog)and Freedom House. I attended his talk and following are the notes I took. Any errors are mine alone.
1. Three issues
2. Introduce speaker: Kang Cheol Hwan
Speaker: Kang Cheol Hwan: translator’s name unknown
1. Escaped so as to reveal the concentration camps of DPRK
3. DPRK government continues to educate its people that USA is a terrible country
8. There are 6 concentration camps in DPRK
14. Ate meat once in concentration camp: it was a mouse. Children roasted it, it was the best food he’s ever had
15. In winter ground is frozen so graves are shallow. In spring the bodies reemerge: thought if there is a hell then this is the place
17. Public executions
18. South Koreans who protested for freedom would not be able to do that in DPRK
20. ROK and international community don’t care about this problem
23. “Why is DPRK starving?”: he wants to answer that if North Koreans were given freedom they would find food
25. Given current government, there is no way food aid will go to the common people
26. Instead should pressure for human rights instead of giving food aid
1. Comment on defectors’ lives in South Korea: jobs, discrimination?
2. Are there no uprisings?
3. How supportive are South Koreans of Kang?
4. Why would ROK act as they do (since it makes no sense)?
5. What suggestions for US and international policy and contents of his Bush conversation?
6. Can China help solve this problem?
7. Role of big ROK corporations in this issue?
8. Does Kim Jong Il have children or is there a military hierarchy to take over after his death?
9. How should/will reunification happen? In past, liberation was by foreigners, so can reunification happen just by/through Koreans?
10. Does Korean proximity to DPRK military explain why they don’t focus on human rights?
11. US troops in ROK
12. Kim Jong Il or Communist Party structure center of power?
13. How can ROK have direct communication/talks with DPRK?
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