In this paper, I will provide credible documentation of contemporary human rights abuses in North Korea and China and then assess those acts in light of classical ethical standards. Abuses in North Korea include imprisoning or killing multiple generations for one person’s offense, malnutrition as a tool of government control, requiring citizens to worship their leader as divine, and restricting citizens from leaving the country. Abuses in China include the government’s killing of Uyghurs, the practice of requiring abortions, harvesting and for-profit sale of human organs, and the sale of North Koreans in China.
Sources for conditions in North Korea include the first-person accounts in Yeonmi Park, _While Time Remains: A North Korean Defector’s Search for Freedom in America_ (Threshold, 2023) and _In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom_ (Penguin, 2016), as well as the 2018 narrative given in Washington, DC, by an intern at the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea. Other sources include the CIA World Factbook on North Korea (which refers to human trafficking), the US federal legislation titled the North Korea Human Rights Act of 2004, and a report from South Korea’s Unification Ministry on defections during this century from North Korea to South Korea. Sources for conditions in China include BBC reporting on the Uyghurs, NPR reporting on the impact of the one-child policy (in place until 2016), and first-person accounts of the treatment of North Koreans who escaped to China (including Yeonmi Park’s narrative).
Human rights abuses in North Korea and China will be contrasted with the foundational Christian view that all people bear God’s image as well as concepts of human rights that regard as immoral the imprisonment of a nation of people (North Koreans), the sale of humans, and the sale of human organs for profit.
In the conclusion, I will compare the conditions in those two countries to the conditions in Europe during the “Final Solution” via interaction with Eli Wiesel’s _Night_ (Hill & Wang, 1960) and also in the US during the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 1960s.