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Short people shipped out of Pyongyang in 1989: defector

Aug 20,2008
In preparation for the 1989 World Festival of Youth and Students in Pyongyang, Kim Il Sung’s North Korean regime purged the capital of disabled and short people, sending them to remote villages and islands, according to a high-profile defector who used to tutor the North’s current head, Kim Jong-il, in Russian.

Kim Hyun-sik, a former professor at the Pyongyang University of Education and now a research professor at George Mason University, made the assertion in the latest issue of U.S. magazine Foreign Policy. Kim defected from the North in 1992. The scheme was attributed to Pyongyang’s desperate hope to outdo the South’s hosting of the 1988 Summer Olympics.

Kim quoted a friend who had been involved in the “purification” work.

“My friend, a well connected physician at the time, told me he had been ordered by the Workers Party to pick out the shortest residents of Pyongyang and South Pyongan Province. The propaganda pamphlets distributed by local party representatives by order from above claimed the state had developed a drug that could raise a person’s height and was recruiting people to receive the new treatment,” he wrote.

Thousands were then told the drug would only work properly in a clean air environment and were shipped away, never to return, Kim wrote.


By Park Sun-young Staff Reporter [spark0320@joongang.co.kr]



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