In 1997 the government of North Korea decided there were just too many people roaming around the country. A royal decree came forth in September demanding that all street children were to be arrested and placed in institutions. Some have opined that the real reason behind his action was cover-up. These beggars made the country look suspect in the eyes of UN officials that were still there in ’97. Got to save face before a watching world. Jasper Becker, author of the book where I found this information (Rogue Regime), decided to visit one of the so-called “9-27″ camps, so named from the date of the edict. He was shocked at the effects of malnutrition on the children that had been nicknamed “flower-swallows”. They are compared to birds because they flit from eating place to eating place like their tiny winged counterparts. Here he met…
Chi Gang. 15 years old. Four feet tall.
A 13-year-old. Three feet six inches.
Kang Minghwa. 16 years old. Looked barely 9 years old. Kang’s testimony is chilling. Her impression is that the children were being brought into custody to die out of sight. A mixture of bean powder and unknown “food substitutes” was fed the children day after day. And day after day, children died. Kang crawled through a camp window, then under a railway bridge that crosses the Tumen River into China. Making her way into Yanji she begged for food on the street.
Because of the love of Christ manifested by many believers in the area, some children in this condition were cared for. But oh so many were and are not. To this day an average North Korean is 20 centimeters shorter and weighs half as much as his South Korean counterpart. In the late 90’s a survey indicated that 2/3 of North Korea’s children were stunted, living proof that the famine had been going on for some time, that it was not some temporary problem brought on by merely natural causes.
Many nations have natural disasters, including our own. But through modern communications and transportation, the peoples of Earth rally together and have, even from the world’s viewpoint, a remarkable recovery in a relatively short period of time. Add the love of Christ in many of Earth’s people, and “miraculous” can be added to the description. But NK’s leaders truly believe they are trying to save their land from the evil influences of a world that hates them. And in so doing they are slowly permitting the genocide of the Korean people.
Who will have mercy on North Korea? Surely God already does. Now we must.