North Korean Gulag Conference to be held in Washington DC

The US-based Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK) has announced that a one-day conference will be held in Washington, DC, on Tuesday, 10 April 2012, entitled “Hidden Gulag: Exposing North Korea’s Political Prisoner Camp System & Calling for Its Complete, Verifiable, and Irreversible Dismantlement”. The conference is organized together with the Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights, and will be hosted by the Peterson Institute for International Economics at the C. Fred Bergsten Conference Center (1750 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20036).

Two CanKor Brain Trust members have prominent parts in the proceedings. As Chair of HRNK, Roberta Cohen (Non-resident Senior Fellow at The Brookings Institution) will make opening remarks. David Hawk, author of “Hidden Gulag” (First & Second Edition), will be the first presenter in the first panel of the conference.  Read the rest of this entry »

The Food Aid Debate – Introduction

US food aid for Popdong ~ 2008 (photo: E. Weingartner)

South Korea and the USA are still undecided on how to respond to recent requests by the DPRK for food aid. In the Republic of Korea, the Lee Myung-Bak regime is threatening legal action against the National Council of Churches in Korea (NCCK) because they have sent food aid via China’s Amity Foundation to the Korean Christian Federation in Pyongyang. A letter received by CanKor from NCCK General Secretary Rev. Dr. Kim Young-ju alerts churches worldwide that, “The Korean government is now very angry at this NCCK’s activity, and it is going to make this case to the court as an illegal activity against to the Law of civilian cooperation and exchange between the North and the South, which strictly forbids any contact and meeting with North Korea without the permission of government.” (NCCK_Food Assistance _May 23rd 2011[1].) Read the rest of this entry »

Recognizing the Human Behind the Ideology

by Col. Jargalsaikhan Mendee, graduate student from Mongolia, Institute of Asian Research, University of British Columbia, 12 July 2010

Attending a reading by Erich Weingartner at UBC last May, I couldn’t help feeling the pain of his fictional friend Pak Kim Li. Mr. Pak is in the middle of everything: ideology, civilization, history and humans. Pak’s story was touching because we have lived in a similar closed society in Mongolia. Personally, Pak’s story was believable because my experience was similar to his. Pak’s story is heartbreaking because after so many years, we are still not doing enough to understand him and his people. Read the rest of this entry »

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