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The Gulag was the government agency that administered the penal labour camps of the Soviet Union. Gulag is the Russian acronym for The Chief Administration of Corrective Labor Camps and Colonies
Although Gulag originally was the name of a government agency, the acronym acquired the qualities of a noun, denoting: the Soviet system of prison-based, unfree labor — including specific labor, punishment, criminal, political, and transit camps for men, women, and children
At least two of the camps, Haengyong and Huaong, are larger in area than the District of Columbia, with Huaong being three times the size of the U.S. capital district
At one camp, Camp 22 in Haengyong, 50,000 prisoners toil each day in conditions that U.S. officials and former prisoners say result in the death of 20 percent to 25 percent of the prison population every year
Entire families, including grandchildren, are incarcerated for even the most bland political statements
Forced abortions are carried out on pregnant women so that another generation of political dissidents will be “eradicated
Inmates are used as human guinea pigs for testing biological and chemical agents, according to former prisoners and U.S. officials
[The women] were forced to abort their children. They put salty water into the pregnant women’s womb with a large syringe, in order to kill the baby even when the woman was eight months or nine months pregnant
Newborn babies are beaten to death. And sons and daughters are publicly executed in front of their mothers
If one were to have the opportunity to speak with a survivor of a North Korean gulag, what they would reveal might be well beyond the threshold of the listener's imagination
On arrival at the camp, the victim is issued a pick and shovel, simple cooking utensils and a used army blanket
We were put to work digging clay and constructing a building
Prisoners are provided just enough food to be kept perpetually on the verge of starvation
They are compelled by their hunger to eat, if they can get away with it, the food of the labor-camp farm animals, as well as plants, grasses, bark, rats, snakes
Not surprisingly, the prisoners are quickly reduced to walking skeletons after their arrival
Rat tastes strange and somehow unpleasant at first. The revolting taste, however, soon disappears
North Korea itself at this point is like one giant gulag where all the population short of Kim and his inner circle are subject to various kinds of atrocities and torture from their beginnings to their tragic ends