From A North Korean Prison Camp

Imagine being born where you experience no family, no love, no nothing. All you do everyday is work constantly, being slaves. You are constantly starving, and food is the only thing that you care about. You cannot escape, but you feel no need to escape for you feel that the whole world is like this- cruel, mean, and heartless. You don’t know that the Earth is round. You don’t know where China is. You don’t even know that China exists.

To me, this sounds like a dystopian society- the sort that you see in science fiction books. People are working constantly like robots and treated like animals. Although this may sound like science fiction, such things do exist today, in North Korea. Below is a story of a former North Korean prisoner who was born into a North Korean camp and grew up not knowing the outside world. He was perhaps the only one to escape the prison camp and make it alive to tell the story.

It seems kind of weird, doesn’t it? I mean, it seems kind of hard to imagine that such things do exist today in a modern world. But it does make me appreciate the fact that I live in America, a place definitely not North Korea.

A few things that caught my interest. First, Shin himself told that he did not feel any love or emotion when his mother and brother were executed. He only started to feel guilty after seeing other people with loving families. So brings up the question: most people say that children are naturally good and learn hate. However, in this case, it seems as if Shin had to learn love himself. Does this mean that children not only learn hate, but must also learn love, too?

Another thing: is this experience that Shin went through necessarily bad? On the outset it sure does look bad. I mean, who would want to go through what Shin went through? But, if all the spoiled children in the world were to go through his experience, they would definitely be a lot less spoiled. In fact, not just to children but also to grown-ups, for they also waste things and take things for granted, too.

In my next post, I would like to perhaps delve deeper into some of the things that I have pondered about for this story.


North Korea Ready To Strike

Of all the countries in the world, one of the most reclusive nations ever is the infamous North Korea. The last time North Korea made the headlines was when it had its first successful rocket launch last month. The United States and other countries started to get a little bit worried. Now, North Korea has made headlines again: it is now threatening war against South Korea.

Read the Yahoo article here: Yahoo! News- North Korea Threatens War With South Over UN Sanctions

Kim Jong-un

The rocket launch made the US worried, but I bet that what North Korea just did made everybody else worried five times more. I mean, I think leader Kim Jong-un is getting too aggressive here. Threatening war over economic sanctions? I mean, yes, most countries are putting sanctions against them, but it’s not if Kim Jong-un is alone here. He still has China on his side, a powerful economic country. Not only that, countries have been always imposing sanctions against North Korea over a long time already. And why all the fuss now over South Korea? Hasn’t North Korea already suspected that South Korea, perhaps their number one enemy, would always be willing to do this kind of stuff?

Well, according to the Yahoo article, North Korea just called the United States its “sworn enemy.” Whoa. It’s like a little dude who’s only three feet tall going up to Kobe Bryant and threatening to beat him up in basketball. I don’t know if it’s bravery or ego for North Korea to say this. But I bet it’s most likely ego, due to the fact Kim Jong-un just had his first successful rocket launch last month. My advice to Kim Jong-un is to clear this ego that is clouding his view. He should realize that the United States is much much more technologically advanced than North Korea is. I mean, the US had its first successful rocket launch way back into the Cold War.

What happens if Kim Jong-un declares war on South Korea? First of all, they better be prepared to mess with the United States. The US has always been an ally for South Korea, and not only that they even have troops stationed there. And the fact that North Korea made the “sworn enemy” comment won’t help them at all. Of course, some may counter that North Korea is allies with China. But the problem is: does China really want to get into this kind of war? Right now, China is having a strained relationship with the US over their claims on the islands of South China Sea. (The Senkaku Islands, to be more specific.) Having to go to war with the US over Korea won’t help Beijing at all. Unlike North Korea, China is not clouded by its ego and knows the United State’s capabilities.

If China does decide to go to war with Korea, however, then get prepared for a possible World War III.

Forced Eviction by the Government

Recently, I stumbled across an interesting Los Angeles Times article. In rural Bazhou of China, there lives a man named Shen Jianzhong, who takes kung fu very seriously. Well, a Communist Party official seemed interested in buying off Shen’s land, so he sent some dashou, or hired people, to evict Shen and his family forcefully. The problem was that kung fu Shen beat them up pretty badly.

To check out the article, click here: LA Times-If Bruce Lee Faced Forced Eviction in China

Is what the official did legal? Apparently, in China it is.

At first glance I thought China was making some corrupt laws. Then, I realized, hey, didn’t the US Constitution also say that the US government could take away anybody’s property, as long as there is fair compensation? This brought up a question: why does this law work well in the US but not in China?

Well, first of all, China has the world’s largest population. It’ pretty much crowded everywhere, and to try to find any available living space, let along farmland, is near impossible. (Maybe I’m exaggerating too much.) Now note that the Chinese officials target rural areas. More than likely are those getting evicted farmers. On the other hand, in the United States, our country is somehow more spacious with a much less population. If a family gets evicted, they should have no problem finding new living space (unless in bad financial situations).

Besides population, another reason is that America is a democracy. The US gov’t can be corrupt and start evicting everybody off of their property so it can take their land. The problem, however, is that the American people will start protesting and rebelling, and since the people have the power, they can refuse to vote someone who is not against all this corruption. There is usually always another politician, however, who seizes on this chance and becomes anti-eviction so he can win office. And to those in office, they don’t want to lose their jobs, so they have to also be anti-eviction to convince the people that they’re on their side. On the other hand, in China, they don’t have this kind of limitation, because China is not a democracy. The government can take away as much as they want, and they won’t get into that much political trouble.

However, the Chinese people are beginning to resent this. The American people generally don’t. Perhaps the reason is that the Constitution says the government must make fair compensation. The China government contrarily can pay any amount they want.

So far I am in a sense showing American superiority on this issue. But even if America is superior, is it right for the government to ever violate a person’s right to private property for the public’s good? In other words, is eminent domain truly right or wrong?

Past US Supreme Court cases have interpreted eminent domain as for the good  or the improvement of the public. In one case, the court ruled that eminent domain could be used to allow a mill owner to expand his dam and operations by flooding an upstream neighbor. The court opinion stated that a public use does not have to mean public occupation of the land; it can mean a public benefit. I disagree with this. American society is not and never will be an Utopian society; nobody should be forced to give up something just to improve the public. Yes, one should be forced to give up property rights if it is necessary for the survival of the society. But just to improve it is not a good enough reason, in my opinion.

In another case, the Supreme Court approved the Hawaiian Housing Authority to be able to transfer a land lessor’s title to its tenants who owned and occupied homes built on the leased land. How did this support the public? The government said it would help the economy by breaking up a housing oligopoly. Um, first of all, this sounds like socialism. Secondly, is this really a sensible reason? By helping the economy the government can really improve society? I suggest the government focus on the welfare of society, not the economic situation.

Pretty much, my case is that America’s eminent domain needs a little bit fixing. China’s however, definitely needs tons of fixing. In the long run, I am sure China’s will get fixed, because here’s one thing I learned: whether the government is dictatorial, democratic, or communist, the people always have the power. Right now, the Chinese people are protesting against this eviction dilemma. The Communist Party can keep on ignoring, but when the protests start gaining more voices, the party will one day have to bow down to what the people want on this issue.