This is part of an article I was reading from Free North Korea Radio (www.fnkradio.com) today. It was a sad, surprising, and eye-opening article for me. It was titled “A (North Korean) defector’s thought on suicide” (탈북자가 보는 북한식 자살 정의).
|Life, an incarceration.|
North Korea is known to be the country with the lowest suicide rate on earth. Why is this, for this nation with the worst world economy, human rights violations, and highest number of defectors in the world? It is because there is a mental pressure far stronger than suicide itself.
North Korea defines, “Every citizens of DPRK is a family member of ‘Kim Il Sung People’ and a child of ‘Ocean-like Kim Jong Il comrade’.” Because of this, every citizen is a member of this larger society; therefore, committing suicide is considered a treason, marking the person as a traitor to the leader, the party, the nation, and the people.
If someone in your family committed suicide, everyone in the family gets purged by North Korea’s infamous ‘implicated crime law’. This is why a North Korean citizen can end his/her poor life by starving/freezing/beaten to death, but not suicide. However, even with this kind of strict and unforgiving social pressure on suicide, some people kill themselves with much contempt for their government.
Suicide may let the dead rest, but the rest of the family would be socially and politically ostracized for the rest of their lives, with no hope for success or career.