It is perhaps too easy to make fun of North Korean propaganda, but needs must when the devil vomits into your kettle (ask Sarah Michelle where this one comes from). And if the absence of good (or even just moderately bad) news from Pyongyang isn’t enough (with the noted exception of course of the quality of the cappuccino one can drink in Pyongyang these days, I am told – frequently; and foreigners can apparently also win law suits in North Korea these days! Oh my),
The report on DPRK forced labour in the EU by the Slaves to the System research team is receiving much attention. Not just from the media, some of whose less esteemed members are having a field day misquoting me in different languages, but also from non-media folks, such as for example members of the EU parliament (who asked question in parliament),
The initial findings of the Slaves to the System project have just been published at the LeidenAsiaCentre website. Peruse the report at your own risk, for it is a ‘grave provocation’ to the DPRK, an ‘act of hostility’ and an “attempt to damage the dignity” of the Supreme Leader. Judge for yourself and read the report. But first back up your hard drive, because if only one tenth of the stories about DPRK hackers is true, they are already listening in on your phone and watching you saving your precious bitcoins.
Hier is het eerste working paper van het LeidenAsiaCentre. Het paper gaat over Noord-Koreaanse dwangarbeid in de Eu. Ja, de EU. Hier dus. Mijn grote vrienden in het Noord-Koreaanse waren zo verheugd over dit lopende onderzoek dat ze maar meteen een formele klacht over mij bij ons eigen Buitenlandse Zaken dachten in te moeten dienen. Of die ons onderzoek even stil wilde leggen. Tja. Die wilden dat dus niet. En omdat diplomaten diplomatiek zijn en dit dus niet kunnen zeggen tegen onze kameraden in Pyongyang (maar ik wel): 肏你祖宗十八代. (Je dacht toch niet dat een nette Leids hoogleraar zomaar zou vloeken? Wil je weten wat het betekent, leer Chinees. Of Google het gewoon)
Dus wij gaan lustig door met onderzoek doen en spannende dingen vinden. Als eerste publicatie, een positiebepaling: A new lease on life – def
I told myself that I wasn’t going to write anything about Shin Dong-hyuk and his confession that key elements of his escape narrative were omitted, changed around or left out. I have never met Shin and I’ve never been able to vouch for the veracity of his book. I have talked about his book in public, however, and have always maintained that I did not doubt his story. Altough I could not verify the details, I believed its general structure to be valid.
It took some doing, performing magic tricks with lecture halls, conjuring up discussants, contacting every media outlet in and outside Europe, and fighting off some dodgy characters with pronounced Hwanghae-do accents (no, not really), but the program for the conference has been finalized. It seems as if there’ll be lots of people, which is why we made sure to get the biggest lecture hall of Leiden University. And trust me, it is big. Big enough to accommodate the speakers, discussants, audience and the media. Haven’t heard from Pyongyang yet,