ONTD Political

North Koreans Reportedly Turn to Cannibalism Due to 'Hidden Famine'

7:01 pm - 01/28/2013


News out of North Korean in notorious unreliable, but food shortages in the country have gotten so bad and people so desperate that there are now reports of men murdering their own children for food. These startling reports were compiled by independent reporters commissioned by Asia Press, a independent press agency focusing on Asia, and were published by the Sunday Times. And here's one of the most disturbing thing you'll read this morning:

The source said: "While his wife was away on business he killed his eldest daughter and, because his son saw what he had done, he killed his son as well. When the wife came home, he offered her food, saying: 'We have meat.'

"But his wife, suspicious, notified the Ministry of Public Security, which led to the discovery of part of their children's bodies under the eaves."

And another from Gu Gwang-ho, one of the Asia Press's citizen journalists said:


"There was an incident when a man was arrested for digging up the grave of his grandchild and eating the remains."


The big question here is whether this is all true or new urban legends. Considering this is North Korea and taking into account the country's propensity to keep secrets and publish propaganda pieces—we'll likely never get real confirmation from their end. But Asia Press has worked with citizen reporters in the famine-struck regions of North and South Hwanghae for the past year, and The Independent considers their reports credible.

Sadly, this isn't the first time we've heard reports of cannibalism from North Korea. Back in 2003, during another food shortage there were refugee accounts that people in the country began killing and eating their children and then selling their children's corpses. The Telegraph's Mark Nicol reported at the time:

Aid agencies are alarmed by refugees' reports that children have been killed and corpses cut up by people desperate for food. Requests by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) to be allowed access to "farmers' markets", where human meat is said to be traded, have been turned down by Pyongyang, citing "security reasons".

And then there's the fact that we know North Korea was devastated by storms and flooding in the summer of 2012. You can't hide a tropical cyclone. Things have grown so desperate, that they almost took South Korean aid this September, which is a big deal considering the rocky relationship between the two countries and the North's fierce pride of independence. Reports of previous famines have been well documented and Asia Press claims that as many as 10,000 people may have died because of the "Hidden Famine" this year.

source
nesmith 29th-Jan-2013 02:40 am (UTC)
Reading the book "Nothing to Envy" broke my heart and I really wonder just how North Korea keeps going on. It's really just mind boggling.
angelofdeath275 29th-Jan-2013 03:04 am (UTC)
unshocking and disgusting. cannibalism would always be lurking around the corner in a country like north korea :(
asrana 29th-Jan-2013 10:25 am (UTC)
...You know, I'm fairly sure I know what you mean here but your comment was just ambiguous enough that I did a double-take and have to give you the benefit of the doubt that you're not being un-fucking-believably racist.
imnotasquirrel 29th-Jan-2013 03:05 am (UTC)
Allegations of cannibalism have been around since the early 90s famine, IIRC.
chasingtides 29th-Jan-2013 03:08 am (UTC)
Jesus fucking Christ. I can't.
paksenarrion2 29th-Jan-2013 03:33 am (UTC)
You know, there are huge issues with some of the things North Korea is doing. And I get that economic sanctions are there to pressure them.

But for fuck's sake, let's get some humanitarian aid to these people. If they are starving to death and eating people? It's way past time to get some help in there.
rhodanum 29th-Jan-2013 03:51 am (UTC)
Economic sanctions or not, sending in food aid does precisely jack-diddly-squat. This whole thing has been documented since the famine in the 1990s. North Korea has received more in food aid per capita than any other country on earth, but almost none of that food has actually trickled down to the population. The vast majority of it is being purposefully redirected to the army and the party faithful in Pyongyang -- same as what's happening to crops all over the country, reason why people are now starving, on top of drought and other factors.

Plainly speaking, a subset of the population has been sacrificed for the well-being of the faithful elite. Aid agencies such as Oxfam and Doctors Without Borders ended up pulling out of North Korea entirely when they found out that their aid was only further fattening the pigs in power.

Sorry for the rant, but I only just finished biting off an imbecile's head after he praised that place as the ideal society. I grew up under communism myself and the idealist fixation with it in some circles of Westerners is both willfully naive and goddamn infuriating.
rhodanum 29th-Jan-2013 03:59 am (UTC)
I am not surprised in the least. Brought to utter desperation, some people would do anything they can to survive. When I was young, we got hit with the double bad luck of a famine and the economic disintegration of the USSR all around us. I still remember gnawing on my fingers when I went to bed just to make my stomach stop hurting so much.

I'm a pacifist by nature, but frankly, I believe that any member of that monstrous, mass-murdering regime deserves to die -- slowly, painfully, suffering of malnutrition, disease, frostbite.
moonshaz 29th-Jan-2013 04:48 am (UTC)
...frankly, I believe that any member of that monstrous, mass-murdering regime deserves to die -- slowly, painfully, suffering of malnutrition, disease, frostbite.

WUT. O_o

Please define who is included in the phrase "member of that ... regime." Would that mean just those who are actually part of the GOVERNMENT? Suppporters of the government? Or what?

There are a lot of thoughts buzzing around my head right now, but I'm not sure which ones are applicable without some clarification.

Edited at 2013-01-29 04:49 am (UTC)
poetic_pixie_13 29th-Jan-2013 04:21 am (UTC)
Nope.




I actually refuse to believe this. I just.... sweet Jesus, I don't even know.
circumambulate 29th-Jan-2013 06:38 am (UTC)
While I'm sure instances of cannibalism are not unheard of in a population as deprived as North Korea's, this particular article smacks of propaganda designed to dehumanize those who will eventually be someone's enemy. This reads like something out of Weekly World News.
ljtaylor 29th-Jan-2013 09:31 am (UTC)
I was thinking this myself
tabaqui 29th-Jan-2013 11:56 am (UTC)
This country just makes me so damn furious and so damn sad. How can the 'elite' know and see what their fellow Koreans are enduring and just not *care*? I wish the citizens could just...rise up. Or China/S.Korea would get fed up and march in. Something.
ginger_maya 29th-Jan-2013 12:21 pm (UTC)
The totalitarian elite never cares. They have all they need, in terms of luxury and power, and they'd do anything and everything to keep those. And they make sure that the army is well-taken care of, because they're the enforcers of their rule - keep them loyal and you stay in power. After all, the only thing a beaten down, indoctrinated, starving population will achieve if they go against a well-equipped army is to get massacred.

South Korea wouldn't go to war again with the North because of the very real threat of a nuclear attack. Why would China aid them? North Korea is their ally, the crazy motherfucker they use to intimidate the West with while they themselves keep up the appearance of a civilized, peaceful state.
illusivevenstar 29th-Jan-2013 12:41 pm (UTC)
....wow

Okay, any sort of perceived dissent is BRUTALLY dealt with. The tiniest step out of line, accidental or not, will get you in trouble.

They are being starved. How exactly do they 'rise up' when they have a hard enough time trying to stay alive?

As for the elite, they don't give a fuck about the rest.

ginger_maya addressed your china/south korea comments. Please educate yourself.
imnotasquirrel 29th-Jan-2013 12:41 pm (UTC)
The thing is, even if someone who's part of the elite in North Korea - basically, almost anyone who lives in Pyongyang, since only those considered most ~loyal to the regime are allowed to live there, as it's the nation's showcase - cares about what's happening, they don't have much recourse unless they too want to be exiled or sent to a hard labor/prison camp, along with their relatives. You have to keep your head down if you want to survive. There isn't much you *can* do...there might be people around who agree with you, but you can't know. Spies are everywhere.

I remember one story a journalist told about taking a tour of North Korea. He said that the tour guide pretty much stuck to the "NORTH KOREA IS AWESOME!" party line, until a brief moment when they were (for whatever reason) left alone for a few minutes. Then she started asking questions about the outside world and the US. The rest of the group came back, and it was back to "NORTH KOREA IS BEST KOREA! PRAISE KIM JONG-IL!" So I definitely think there are at least people who are questioning what they're being fed by the government. It's just that they can't risk saying anything openly.
illusivevenstar 29th-Jan-2013 12:26 pm (UTC)
This article has me side eyeing the shit out of it.

I read the title and was like, oh my god! Then I read the article and the story comes off as the asshole just wanted to murder the kids.

Ugh
imnotasquirrel 29th-Jan-2013 02:25 pm (UTC)
It's a bit telling when the Daily Fail does a better job of framing the narrative. Low bar, I know.
jugglingeggs 29th-Jan-2013 01:33 pm (UTC)
Gonna go with side-eyeing this article as well. It just reads like badly written propaganda. It really sounds more like a bunch of isolated murder/cannibalism cases, the kind of which you would find in any country.

I am not discounting that this could be the alternative for citizens of this country who are starved into submission, but this article doesn't really seem that genuine to me. Thanks for sharing anyway OP!

imnotasquirrel 29th-Jan-2013 02:32 pm (UTC)
OT, but NK-related: I once came across a discussion about North Korea (in ontd_football, I think). Someone was asking why people didn't just leave the country if things were so bad, and someone said, "They don't cross the border into South Korea because they're too brainwashed." Yeah, and I'm sure the fact that the Korean DMZ is the most heavily militarized border in the entire fucking world has nothing to do with it.
rebness 29th-Jan-2013 10:58 pm (UTC)
I watched a documentary on this recently and apart from the heavily guarded South Korean border, China will send back anyone they catch trying to flee at that end. And God knows what happens to the people trying to flee who get caught. :(
whorishness 29th-Jan-2013 02:48 pm (UTC)
This is very sad. I would have rather saw the heads of NK killed than UBL. In my mind that is just as, if not more, important. No wonder they are talking about blowing up the US and SK. I get very grumpy when I'm hungry, I can only imagine what I'd do if I was that level of hungry and had access to nukes.
skittish_derby 29th-Jan-2013 02:51 pm (UTC)
I don't think that the leaders are starving, honestly.
mingemonster 29th-Jan-2013 03:07 pm (UTC)
This doesn't sound right to me. Why would he kill his two kids and not some stranger? Maybe the story is true, but if it is it sounds like it's motivated by something other than just starvation.
akycha 29th-Jan-2013 11:06 pm (UTC)
While I don't doubt that there is a famine going on (and that aid has been diverted from those who actually need it), the piece read to me like racist propaganda (those "inhuman others!"). In fact, there is a scene in The Good Earth which is very like this, which just goes to show that rumors about "others" eating their children in times of famine aren't particularly new.
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