Camp 14: Total Control Zone

Shin Dong-hyuk was born in a North Korean punishment camp, where he endured appalling brutalities until he escaped, aged 23. Now his story is told in a harrowing documentary

by Stephen Applebaum
The Guardian, September 20, 2013

Documentary-makers generally tackle torture at a distance. Joshua Oppenheimer's The Act of Killing, for instance, introduced us to a charismatic killer from Indonesia's anti-communist genocide who dances the cha-cha on the rooftop where he murdered hundreds of victims almost 50 years earlier. Camp 14: Total Control Zone is different. The German film-maker Marc Wiese's film tells of horrors that could be happening as you read this, in North Korea, in prison camps so vast that they show up on Google Earth.
Some are "re-education" facilities, where the inmates can hope to be released after a period of hard labour and immersion in revolutionary doctrine. The "total control zone", however, is a life sentence, with death the only exit.

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