Updated August. 02, 2012 08:18
Pyongyangs new leading man, Kim Jong Un, is all about the lulz. But theres nothing funny about life in the worlds most repressive state.
Blaine Harden, a former Washington Post reporter and the author of the book "Escape from Camp 14: One Man`s Remarkable Odyssey From North Korea to Freedom in the West," recently posted an article on the monthly journal Foreign Policy, criticizing the dire human rights situation in the North amid gossipy issues about the communist states new leader.
Kim Jong Un and his wife recently appeared on TV together, interacting with happy children, enjoying a live Mickey Mouse show, getting excited about a concert rendition of the theme from the movie Rocky, Harden wrote, but call this nothing but a thoroughly calculated public relations tactics.
Citing the MSN Now headline Sorry, ladies, your favorite North Korean dictator is off the market, he wrote that people are getting used to his bright images.
It is worth noting that North Korea remains uniquely repressive, Harden said. Indeed, after seven months under Kim Jong Un, the entire country seems to have become even more of a prison than it was under his father, Kim Jong Il, not less.
We should not allow ourselves to be manipulated by images of the jowly young leader and his nicely dressed wife at amusement parks, he concluded, arguing that attention should be focused on whether Kim Jong Un will launch Chinese-style economic reform as he promised in his April speech.