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  • North Korea to Olympians: No Medals Means Labor Camp

    What if not winning a gold medal in the Olympics meant being cast out of society and forced into a labor camp when you returned home from London?

    Such is the fate awaiting some North Korean athletes who fail to bring home medals. Adding insult to injury, the athletes are actually forced into training at a young age by the Communist Party’s Sports Committee.

    While North Koreans are dedicating their wins to their “Dear Leader” Kim Jong-un, the fear of failure terrifyingly fuels the drive to win.

    Medal winners will return home to prize money, cars, and other lavish gifts as the government demonstrates its appreciation for illuminating North Korea positively on the world stage. Gold medalist Kim Un-Guk, who set an Olympic record in 62-kilogram weightlifting this year, said he “won first place because the shining Supreme Commander Kim Jong Un gave me power and courage,” according to ABC News.

    Weightlifter Om Yun-cho told the International Herald Tribune, “The reason that I’m able to get the gold medal at these Olympics is due to the warm love and consideration of General Kim Jong-il and comrade Kim Jong-un.… Because of them, I was able to get great strength today.”

    The impoverished nation of over 25 million people has been known to convey false loyalty to their country’s leaders for a legitimate fear of punishment if they do not. What some called “mandatory public crying” when Kim Jong-il passed away last year is just one example. The people’s allegiance then smoothly transferred to Jong-un with no relief for the oppressed.

    According to The Wall Street Journal, North Koreans are actually being “gifted” with an unprecedented five full hours per day of Olympic coverage from London. Of course, that’s only for those with televisions. Since many barely have enough to eat every day, it’s likely the Olympic coverage matters little to most North Koreans.

    Earlier this year, an escapee of a North Korean labor camp visited The Heritage Foundation and described the conditions of the camp he grew up in for 23 years of his life—a camp like the Olympic losers may be sent to. Heritage’s Mike Brownfield describes:

    The biggest of them is reportedly 31 miles long and 25 miles wide—bigger than Los Angeles—and electrified barbed-wire fences surround the perimeter. To date, the camps have lasted twice as long as the Soviet Gulag and 12 times longer than Nazi concentration camps. Yet little is known of them in the outside world.

    The scene is far scarier than just a feeling of grave disappointment in not medaling.

    “Any success [by North Korean athletes at the Olympics] will be used extensively for propaganda purposes,” said Grigore Scarlatoiu, executive director of the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit.

    For the 56 athletes on North Korea’s Olympic team, life as they know it hangs in the balance. With just a few more days of the summer games left, one can’t help but hope—for their sake—that they win.

    Posted in Featured, Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    28 Responses to North Korea to Olympians: No Medals Means Labor Camp

    1. mjd says:

      so defect!

      • hrg says:

        They get shot for trying to defect. And their kids, parents, and siblings get put into camps as punishment for what they did.

    2. Tom Johnson says:

      They should be banned from participating in the Olympics if the losers are forced into labor camps. Those poor people over there are living in the 1930's. Reckonthatis.com

    3. Chun says:

      Where are you getting this false information?

    4. Bobbie says:

      this kind of leadership is what humanity doesn't need…
      to use authority to punish the endurance, diligence and discipline of any athlete's personal level publicly displayed, is worse than inhuman. If people were inspired to be athletes without threats of punishment, their achievements would be greater and dignified.
      The world can do better with civil minded leadership who conducts human decency with respects.

    5. Imagine the consequences of NOT winning…

    6. Stirling says:

      at least America hasn't gotten to this point… yet.. and should be a warning to those who think "too much government" is a good thing, and that captialism is a bad thing..

      • Laura says:

        Denmark has a lot more government involvement than us, and they seem to be doing ok. Yes, people need to protect their freedom from government infringement, to hold politicians accountable and to make sure that power rests with the voters – but it's stupid and disingenuous to say that government regulations are an inevitable slide to North Korea.

    7. Andrew says:

      meanwhile in the USA, people are enjoying "censored Olympics" only showing the sports that the USA excels in (or thinks they excel in).

      • Carpe-PM says:

        Don't be absurd. It's not censorship, Its simple marketing.
        Television companies will carry whatever Olympic events the majority of Americans are interested in watching so they can then sell advertising space. Companies won't buy advertising time unless they expect a reasonable size audience will be watching when their ad runs. Therefore the televison companies focus on carrying the most popular events. It's a simple equation.

      • Joseph says:

        Fortunately for the US, we get to see quite a bit of "censored Olympics" considering we have more medals than any other nation.

      • TheTenth says:

        That's a stupid comment for multiple reasons. Like Carpe said, it's simple marketing. NBC will show coverage of the sports Americans want to see. Let's be honest: we Americans like watching our fellow countrymen dominating the rest of the world.
        Secondly, they actually didn't JUST show the sports we excelled in. If you tuned into NBC Sports during the day, you'd see live coverage of anything from equestrian to rhythmic gymnastics. We only had ONE athlete competing in rhythmic gymnastics. Stop being ignorant.

    8. But they have free health care.

    9. Dana says:

      This is so sad! It breaks my heart for these poor people!

    10. Jack Garrand says:

      Where are all these programs, commites, and coalitions that formed after WWII in the name of "Never forget, so that history does not repeat itself" Those people in those camps are human beings. Just like Jews, Just like Russians, Just like the WWII POW's that were found clinging to life in the Nazi ran camps. Why aren't any of these groups standing up, pointing the finger, and saying.. "Someone stop that" …. I cannot believe that these people are stuck in those camps living that hell on earth, while the worlds greatest modernized nations sit back and do NOTHING…. Is the fear really CHINA?? Because North Korea stopped using "Communisum" as their form a government, LONG AGO.. they live under the Juchea Ideology of "Self Reliance" … So before we form groups to "Never Forget" how about some of these groups lobby for military action to shut down those horrible places.

    11. Chad Smial says:

      Hard to believe some Olympic Athletes have the gall to make statements about being too good not to be on TV and in the headlines when they have this to deal with. Sickening.

    12. Will sanders says:

      I call that motivation!

    13. SAR says:


    14. Mike says:

      Seems brutal – but where's the source saying they'll be sent to a labor camp for losing? (1) There are DPRK athletes. (2) There are labor camps in the DPRK…ergo…if the athletes lose they'll be sent there? I'm just looking for the connection/correlation.

    15. wes says:

      while not supporting the north korean regime in any way, there is NO evidence that North Korean athletes are sent to labour camps just for not winning. As per evidence against this, many of the athlrtes have competed for more than one international event before and after 2006 winter, 2008?summer and 2010 winter olympics medal winne or not. You can't just put two things together and call it the truth.

    16. RB Spitz says:

      You make a claim then don't bother to offer any proof!

      Saying that NK athletes are under pressure to win (sure) & NK also has forced labor camps (probably) does NOT mean that NK athletes will go to forced labor camps if they don't win (not necessarily).

      I can't figure out whether you're a propagandist or just being a ditz.

    17. Beth says:

      Cite your sources and maybe I'll give this a little merit, but since you have nothing but your word I don't believe one second that this is true.

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