N. Korean refugees sceptical of government, support unification with South

Written by: Ani
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Pyongyang, Jan 23 (ANI): A new book about North Korea by two international academicians has claimed that refugees of that country hold their government in low regard, and are far more sceptical of official explanations of their misery than is generally supposed.

The book titled 'Witness to Transformation' is an outcome of efforts by its two authors, Stephan Haggard, a UC San Diego professor of Korea-Pacific Studies, and Marcus Noland, Deputy Director of the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

According to the book, a huge number of North Korean refugees in China and South Korea, who participated in the surveys, are of the opinion that the Korean Peninsula should be united. They also said that their friends living in North Korea also support the same idea.

The book also claims that tensions in are a result of rising inequality, corruption, and its citizens' desperate quest for higher social status and income. Despite Pyongyang's identity as an authoritarian state with economic activity supposedly controlled by the government, private business and corrupt and illegal activities are reportedly emerging as the dominant means of getting ahead throughout the country.

The authors highlighted the fact how state and party positions have become platforms for extortion as North Korean officials exploit a vast prison system for the purpose of economic predation. They further claimed that although North Koreans are dissatisfied with their government, dissidents are scared to express their views even with each other.

Besides, North Korean participants in the survey who are involved in market activities reportedly not only possess more negative attitudes toward the regime than the general population, but they also are more willing to communicate their dissenting views to others. They are also 50 percent more likely to be arrested.

Once incarcerated, they report extraordinary incidences of public executions, torture, food deprivation, withholding of medical care, and other forms of abuse in the country, which is characterized by a complete absence of standard political freedoms or civil liberties. Indeed, any sign of "political deviance," such as inadvertently sitting on a newspaper containing the photograph of the North Korean leader, can be subject to punishment, Haggard and Noland wrote. (ANI)

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