Friday, September 28, 2012

North Korea disbands Camp 22?

If Kim Jong-un really were the Gorbachev or Deng Xiaoping of North Korea, what would it look like? Would it include releasing pictures of the Young General riding modern-day roller coasters or sending economic missions off to far-flung areas of China and the rest of the world to learn how to enter the late 20th century? 

Would it include closing down a gulag or two? It's a pertinent question because this seems to have happened at Camp 22 in Hoeryong, according to Daily NK (link and excerpt below). Before we get ahead of ourselves, it appears that the inmates at this institution have been transferred rather than released, but could the closure itself be a sign of something? 

Why would it close? Is it too cruel even by the standards of the new North Korean leader? Are these standards changing? Is this change being pushed (or even forced) by China? Are there secret deals with Washington (or Seoul or Tokyo) whereby aid or diplomatic recognition or something of value is dangled like a carrot if certain benchmarks are met, such as the closing of x number of gulags? 

It's n interesting proposition. 


Daily NK - Camp 22 Disbanded on Defection Fear

▲ Location of former Camp 22 nr. Hoiryeong, North Hamkyung Province (©DailyNK)
Daily NK has belatedly confirmed that one of North Korea's infamous network of political prison camps has been closed down, while also obtaining information suggesting that the decision to close it was triggered by a high-level defection.

A source from North Hamkyung Province informed Daily NK on the 27th, "Camp 22 in Hoiryeong was totally shut down in June. It was decided that it should be closed down after the warden who ran it and another officer ran away to China."

The source said that all the camp inmates were transferred to other camps, and that as far as he is aware none were released.

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