A elderly man bows before statues of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il in Pyongyang. A new documentary has shown how the state ceaselessly manipulates the people. Photo: AP

In North Korea, behind the fixed smiles, a world of tears and bullying is revealed

Donald Kirk says, in the run-up to the party congress in Pyongyang, a new documentary about how the state brainwashes its subjects and forces them to participate in its scripted unreality should give us pause for thought

Topic |   North Korea

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A elderly man bows before statues of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il in Pyongyang. A new documentary has shown how the state ceaselessly manipulates the people. Photo: AP
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Donald Kirk

Donald Kirk

Donald Kirk is an author and journalist from Washington, D.C., and travels to South Korea, with stops in London, India, Pakistan, the Middle East, Japan, Hong Kong and the Philippines, among other places, writing on the confrontation of forces in the post-September 11 era. He was the Seoul correspondent for the International Herald Tribune from 1997 to 2003. Before gravitating to Northeast Asia, he covered much of the Vietnam War for the Chicago Tribune and the Washington Star. He has also written books on Korea, notably Korea Betrayed: Kim Dae Jung and Sunshine and Korean Dynasty: Hyundai and Chung Ju Yung.