The North Korean athletes plus performers taking part in the Winter Olympics within South Korea are central in order to Kim Jong Un’ s attraction offensive against an international community concerned over his nuclear ambitions.
However the accounts of those who once resided in North Korea suggest a tough life for the isolated country’ t sports and entertainment ambassadors. Throughout the Pyeongchang Games, we spoke with two defectors and a previous South Korean spy familiar with arrangements for international events. They color a stark picture of manage, punishment and even sexual slavery.
Whilst their views are based on past situations — some several years ago — there’ s no reason to believe procedures north of the border have enhanced dramatically. Here are their own words and phrases:
The Skier’ s Father
Betty Hyung-soo, 54, defected to Southern Korea in 2009 with his son, the skier who competed in the Northern Korean national league. The father will be the co-head of “ Stepping Gemstones, ” a non-governmental organization that will supports defectors. The son presently works for a “ large company” in Suwon, home to the head office of Samsung Electronics Co.
“ In one word, athletes are usually Kim Jong Un’ s sports activities ‘ slaves. ’ Even the instructors are slaves to Kim Jong Un, and to the North Korean regime. Because in North Korea, Kim Jong Un and the routine is the entire world. The athletes as well as the cheerleaders, too. They are all Kim Jong Un and North Korea’ h slaves. The cheerleaders, too. They will select people who are unlikely to problem, and people with loyal backgrounds. This particular factor is crucial from a very earlier stage. ”
Shelter So-yeon, 42, is a former army musician who fled in 08. She now heads the New Korea Women’ s Partnership , a group that helps female defectors adjust to life in South Korea and provides treatment for those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
“ North Korea’ s artwork troupe came here and carried out with dances and songs, and it also might seem like a fancy show on the exterior. However , they also have to go to parties and offer sexual services, that sort of discomfort also follows. They go to the main Politburo party’ s events, and also have to sleep with the people right now there, even if they don’ t need it. Those sorts of human-rights infringements occur, where women have to follow what exactly they are told to do with their bodies. ”
The Former Spy
Kim Jung-bong, 61, is really a former South Korean spy plus head of the National Security Authorities. He now teaches foreign matters and security studies at Hanzhong University.
“ When the athletes go back to Pyongyang, are going to shown the best buildings around city. For some, they might not have had a chance to see great facilities or consume good food. So , North Korea tries to show its athletes each one of these great things. North Korea can make an effort to plant an idea within their head, that everything that they noticed in South Korea wasn’ capital t that wonderful. And then they are delivered to a political school, or a politics education system from one to 3 months for what they call ‘ meaning education. ” ’