The United Nations opened this week up with a bang: an extensive report detaining the numerous human rights abuses in North Korea–from widespread rape and child abuse to using human corpses as fertilizer–and threatened to hold Kim Jong-Un personally liable. China responded Tuesday, defending its communist ally.
According to The New York Times, China rebuffed the idea proposed by the Human Rights Council of potentially bringing Kim Jong-Un to trial at the Hague for crimes against humanity. Calling the harrowing details in the UN’s latest report on the matter “unreasonable criticism,” a spokesperson for the Chinese government disagreed with the idea of “politicizing human rights issues” and flat-out rejected the entire idea of the International Criminal Court: “We believe that taking human rights issues to the International Criminal Court is not helpful to improving a country’s human rights situation.”
In order for an individual to be taken to the ICC, the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council must all approve the prosecution. China is on the Security Council permanently, as well as Russia, which makes bringing war criminals to trial a rare feat, since China essentially noted it disagreed with the entire concept of the ICC in response to the UN report. China is also one of North Korea’s closest allies, though that relationship was rumored to be strained when Kim ordered the execution of his uncle, Jang Song-Thaek. Whatever tensions emerged from that incident seem to have subsided, however, as China’s Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs arrived in North Korea yesterday, according to North Korean state media.
The statement from the government of North Korea responding to the UN’s letter and report on human rights abuses was predictable. Human rights violations, the DPRK mission in Korea told Reuters, “do not exist in our country.” Any attempt to claim that they do, they continued, was part of a “political plot” to “sabotage” socialism.
The extensive report details some of the most explicit and horrifying abuses of the regime. While previously suspected to run labor camps and starve dissidents, some of the revelations in the new UN report are new. The Telegraph collected some of the most shocking, including the indoctrination of young children. Children are forced to confess and repent for any thoughts they have against the regime, and to participate in “mass games” for the entertainment of Kim Jong-Un that result in the deaths of many. The most dystopian paragraphs include the installation of PA systems in every home to transmit government propaganda and the use of dead prisoners’ ashes to fertilize crops. One particularly horrific paragraph describes a mother using the corpse of her infant to smuggle copper.