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Children of the Secret State

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Ratings: 7.93/10 from 15 users.

Storyline

Children of the Secret StateNorth Korea, a country of 22 million. Up to 3 million of its' people have starved to death in the last 10 years. More than 40% of North Korean children now suffer from chronic malnutrition.

Children of the Secret State is an investigation into North Korea, considered by many as the last Stalinist dictatorship, a hidden and sealed country riddled with propaganda and saturated with hostility to democracy and the West.

Joe Layburn and the Hardcash team discovered a young North Korean, known by the pseudonym Ahn Chol, who has been filming undercover so that the world can see what is going on in his native land: the country where his parents both starved to death.

His devastating footage shows some of the estimated 200,000 street children, mainly orphans, foraging for food in the mud and the gutters, ignored by the adults around them and ignored by the state which claims they are at its bosom.

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Comments and User Reviews

  • Red M

    I don't know how to feel after seeing this... It's too heartbreaking to see those North Korean kids. And to think that as i write this, many Koreans are starving to death.

    really sad. T_T

  • CJ Reneouis

    and we cannot even help. at all.

  • Karma

    The crime of humanity is knowing and doing nothing.

    We can help.. Governments can help. We must remove the socialist regime in North Korea as soon as possible. The longer we wait the more people die.

    People are eating each other for goodness sake!

    Come on U.N stretch your international legs and take out this charade of a government and install a U.N government.

  • Der Oberst

    I've heard that the food/economic situation in North Korea was bad but I didn't know that it is so desperate.....

    We must use every chance, whatever it may be, to weaken/damage this inhumane regime and put an end to this.

  • eyepopping

    this is just insane. its like a true horror story being told. a nightmare for these children and people to be living in and yet the rest of the world is in deep conflict or filling their pointless lifes with the BS hollywood is pumping out. this is trully a horrific scenerio and even though i am thousands and thousands of miles away it does frighten me more than any film or any urban legend one hears off..

  • Watermelon

    I almost feel bad for eating popcorn to this... almost.

  • Tyler

    Kim Jong Il deserves a good hard kick in the balls and then some.

  • Lucy

    As a Model United Nations student, let me remind everybody that the UN can't just "take out this charade of a government". At least, not alone; if we all write to the leader of our respective countries and raise awareness about this atrocities, then maybe we can help the UN help the children of North Korea. Also, you could get educated, informed and involved in your community and possibly eventually beyond. In the words of Mahatma Gandhi, "Be the change you want to see in the world.

  • Jack

    The children all seem to have reasonably fresh hair cuts... where and how do they get them I wonder??

  • pete b

    heart wrenching, im seriously broken hearted right now, how can people be so cold to see a lil girl with no water and no food and ignore her, im literally in tears, what a cold world we live in, and we take for granted how truly fortunate we are to live where we live.

  • ElishaShemuel

    The nice and phony tour of N Korea was too much of a perfect facade. All those people have to keep up that big fat lie just the russians do. They end up not knowing a lie from the truth. They become mentally mad.
    The tour: It reminded me of the overwhelming phoniness (witchcraft, sorcery, wicked imagination) of the teachings of disney land. Disneyland has building; as the Kremlin buildings in russia that look like Disneyland, a fairy tale world or Disney-world. Nice and phony fairyland of wishes and dreams of witches and sorcerers (Mr N Korea believed this lie and is living it). We teach our own kids this stuff fairy tales, Santa Clause, Easter Bunny etc. Then when we see what Kim dictator Korean man does after he has been taught this same crap we have a fit. Every American teaches their children this fairy tale crap is good. Now look at your sin in North Korea come to fruition.

    Its begun to crash, just as the criminals in the USA government, It will come down crashing and keep on crashing upon them, all their own wicked deeds they will reap; as all of them do. They will all be caught and recompensed one day, Just like sad-dam Hussein's recompense, even his face all over the news, caught like an animal caught while hiding like a rat in a hole.

  • jo

    think the credits could give some mention that the film certainly looks directed by the cia. if you like your propaganda in the form of the eternal jew type film watch away

  • Cliff

    @jo:

    wha? you can't be serious. i live in korea right now and it's all definitely true. the south korean government is pretty much the only thing keeping the north from totally devastation. at the end of the day, the north and south are still family.

  • Mariar

    How can grown a** adults sit around eating big bowls of white rice and golden fried fish with or without soy sauce.

    And to know those little children are picking scraps out the wet mud, how sad and why show the rich children all dress up and looking like a living fairy tale, What beautiful voice the songs they were singing.

    I couldn't watch the rest it too much suffering.

  • isana5

    I hope, Kim Jong-il is in deepest hell...

  • louiseiiid

    I am heartbroken at this documentary. Those poor sweet children. How is it that the local people just shoo them away, as though they were flies, at the markets?

    Resorting to eating human flesh - when they cannot grow good crops, by governmental decree whilst food gifts are sold on the black market - can humans sink any lower than North Korea? I don't think so.

    Why do China and South Korea just send these poor bastards back to the North, knowing that they will be severely punished, if not,executed?

    God, hat miserable lives.

  • http://www.ShopperStay.com/ Aram

    Political will and commitment can only put an end to such an atrocity and isnt the attitude of the respective governments so damn rude towards children and noone could do anything about it?

  • Mo

    Please provide english subtitles for the hearing impaired.

  • tridant

    funny,i dont see the US of A going after this dictator.....if only north Korea had oil maybe they would be saved.American interest is in profit.God help those poor kids as the most powerfull nation in the world wont.Help dont equal wealth.Few bags of grain is like throwing a feather at an elephant.Go in and take the midget out!!!

  • Mirclekel

    I am gravely disturbed that adults with food in front of them are choosing to ignore the children. That is more disturbing and heartwrenching than anything else in this film. Why or how could they act as if these innocent children do not exist. Selfish Bastards. It is the PEOPLE who are heartless and have no soul!

  • Lion

    I'm just curious as to why it seems like the orphan children have decent haircuts? Just seems quite suspicious to me actually.

  • IgorV

    That is completely f***** up. I have seen a lot of stuff on the Internet and this clip is one of the few that actually touched me. I mean, even if the UN stepped in and took over one way or another, what to do with all the people who have been seeing this behavior below any human conduct happen every single day of their lives to their friends and loved ones? How would a child get used to, lets say a large modern western city after forced to kill or even eat his/her family members? How would they react to the amount of consumption and emptiness of our culture?

    Imagine, you finally get to the promised land but the people are as ruthless and self-centered as those soldiers with their warm meals. Just think about how many homeless people you have ignored while coming back from the store with a bag of chips and a soda to watch this kind of documentary and feel bad about those poor children. Because I have.

    I seriously think that if even half of those stories about prison camps and cannibalism are true the only humane solution would be a tactical nuclear strike. Think about it. First growing up in a very hostile environment full of violence, cannibalism and totalitarian military oppression and then you are brought to a major European city, given a foster home and eventually a small flat and some money every month. If you are lucky that is. Then you are basically on your own because you can't apply any immigrant-training program to these people. These people have been in Auschwitz for all their lives and suddenly they find themselves in a large metropolis full of money and lights and entertainment and most importantly those drugs their "comrades" are making back home. The "normal" people would be looking down at them. Pity them, but not enough to give a shit so they would inevitably end up at the lowest class of society and find themselves in a new form of slavery. The living conditions would improve but it would not be freedom. Most of them would just snap, especially those from prison camps. Many of them would turn into criminal life, and with their backgrounds really cold and merciless ones devoid of any feelings.

    That's why I think that for the most deeply damaged citizens, the ones who have seen the worst, a fast and as painless death as possible would be the best way to help. Yes that guard and kid seemed to act normal but you could see from their eyes how haunting those memories are and what it had done. Add 20 million people like them and disperse them all over the world to different kinds of societies with different kinds of social service if at all. Do you get the big picture?
    Like someone said here, US of f*****' A doesn't care about people, it cares about profit. Well this applies basically to every country and every human being. No matter how "good" you are, when something is proposed, you subconsciously think "what's in it for me?" because it's the human nature. There is no human being on this planet who never thinks of his/her advantage, it's a survival instinct. Some people are just better at hiding it.

    Of course you could have massive charity campaigns and concerts in three of the G8 countries and people would give some dimes while watching it from television in their homes and feel a little bit better about themselves and their consumption. Maybe even write a small text to Facebook with a link to the donation. Look, I gave five bucks to the starving children of North Korea, im such a good person.

    Dropping scraps for children to feed themselves? Where do I sign up? Maybe Bono would write a nice song about it and perform it with Elton John before flying back home in their private jets. Concerts and campaigns would end, the media would find something even more devastating to sell and all those good, beautiful people who care so much would lose their interest because average memory span of a western consumer is about as long as a commercial break.

  • Jacob M

    @Igor Come on dude really? Nuclear Strike? I feel bad for people who's only true solution is complete destruction.

  • Jacob M

    "you subconsciously think “what’s in it for me?” because it’s the human nature. There is no human being on this planet who never thinks of his/her advantage, it’s a survival instinct. Some people are just better at hiding it."

    Also Igor, your preaching at everyone doesn't make any since. You say that it is human nature to be greedy, i strongly disagree. Children raised by dogs act like dogs. Children raised by Kim Jong Il act like Kim Jong Il. We are blank slates, not inherently greedy.

  • Shane

    Regarding the hair length of the orphan children in the video, malnutrition can contribute to a reduced metabolic rate which can cause reduced hair growth and thinning. That seems to me by far the most likely explanation.

    Or

    Conspiracy theorists may prefer this explanation:
    The children were method actors from the actors studio who prepared for the role for a number of months by losing one third of their body weight. Make-up applied by Jay Alexander. Hair cut by Vidal Sassoon. Spielberg couldn't say no to the 10,000,000 dollars the CIA were offering him for a few days of direction. 10 mill seems like a lot to offer a venerable old hasbeen, but he showed his ability to elicit horror in Schindlers List, and ET rocked.

  • Bianca

    lol @Shane, and I wonder how anyone could watch such a tragedy and spend most of their time noting the haircuts... Those children are sick and dieing. Maybe if you tried not eating for months your hair will look better :P

    Get real.

    Next you're going to tell me that if you pause at a certain point in the film you see one of those kids checking their e-mail on their Iphones.

  • Randy

    This is horror, but this sort of thing has been going on, all over the world, since the beginning of human civilization and will continue on long after we are all dust.

    We are a miserable, fudamentally insane species, that really needs to die off and make way for Nature's next experiment...

    'Cause, brothers and sisters, this one has failed tragically...

  • Sarah

    Watching this has made me really sad. To think that so many people live this way--it's really depressing.
    Still, I don't agree with those people who say we should take out the North Korean government or whatever. We don't have that right. If North Korea is to reform, it must happen naturally, by itself, and by the volition of its own citizens/next leader of Korea.

  • Randy

    @Sarah

    Absolutely. My fatalistic comments above notwithstanding... (I am an old cranky guy...).

    Where do we draw the line? If we, or the U.N., were to take over N. Korea, which terrible power would be next? And where would we get the money for all this Roman Empireal Conquest?

    Isn't that what all the evil conquerors in history used to justify their throttling of the world, "I know better than they do, so I better just take control of their country... you know... for their own good!"

  • jwd

    @jacob

    Actually, the clean slate thing was my impressions as well but humans apparently have certain needs embedded from birth as well as base instincts.

  • Tepu

    USA should let North Korean people out from their misery, as they did for for Iraqi people.

  • Aequitas

    Not gonna lie, that chicken noodle soup I ate while watching this was awesome.

  • Aequitas

    On another note, anyone interested in this should watch The Vice Guide to North Korea.

  • PC

    Unfortunately, as long as North Korea hides behind China, it will be impossible for the UN to do anything as China has veto power. And unfortunately, North Korea is not the only regime brutalizing its people -- Burma immediately comes to mind, as does many nations in Africa and the Middle East.

    The UN was created to prevent these atrocities and instead it's simply become overly politicized.

  • rozee

    My heart is broken. The cruelty, the indifference, the insanity. Where has love gone?

  • Alice

    when a human is malnourished, their hair does not grow. i cant believe that people grow suspicious over something so trivial. look at the big picture.

  • bill

    where's GW, "we need to help the people of i-rack" oh wait, N korea doesnt have oil...

  • Rodrigo

    Where the childrens are just poor hungry dogs.
    Share to all your friends this video.
    Its importante and the most eficiente we can help.
    Shared to all my friends!!!
    Peace and Love

  • aaangie

    This is so very very sad. But it seems the way of the world nowadays for governments to be corrupt

  • Sarah V.

    I second watching the Vices Guide to North Korea. This documentary was heart breaking. Some weird shit goes down in North Korea and I'm sick that it hasn't been stopped. The Vices Guide to North Korea explores the facade a bit more..What a piece of shit is Kim Jong Il.

  • Will

    Westerners are so arrogant about things like this. you guys are so quick to criticise Kim Jong II and the communists. but keep in mind America DIRECTLY caused this. If the U.S didnt put its extreme sanctions on N. Korea they could be selling Military hardware and at least have enough feed to feed their people... not to mention how western made exchange rates make it more profitable to export food from a starving country... and allow companies from industrial countries to employ 3rd world workers for less money than they would pay a slave.

  • Just213

    @ Will, I created an account JUST so I could comment to you. 1st: There were children that wer all smiles, singing & dancing, so the resources used to do that could be shared. 2nd: How can u say in one sentence that they could sell equip. to make money & feed kids, then in the very next say that they are exporting their food. If concern for ppl @ home is most imporatnt, then they should feed their ppl 1st!

    Why not teach people to farm? Or if it is that crucial, why keep having children? For food? For work? Even working the kids is a failure because they hardly make it to ages they can work.

    And what about using farm land for drug production? How is this the US's fault? Matter of fact, by eliminating the production of the drug would effectually benefit the US.

    It is pointless to place blame. It is necessary to address the problems. From the top down. In the end, the children suffer. Babies. If anything your arrogance and self-deception is appaling!

  • Just213

    In the drawings, the children ARE depicted with stubble for hair. Even if that was a decption, how can you possibly deny the rest of the video? Ok, so since kids have hair, the rest of this is irrelevant conjecture? Ok, everyone IGNORE this doc cuz the kids must not be starved cuz THEY HAVE hair!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/Groovylocks Ella Silver

    Vietnam was hit way worse than Korea. And this kind of nonsense isn't happening in vietnam.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Groovylocks Ella Silver

    wtf do you mean USA still sending food to this country?? Clearly it's not helping anyone who needs help. Shut it down, for christsake. The more aid that enters this sham of a country, the more their children starve. I will personally never support any organization or nation that sends money to these greedy welfare pigs that only use this aid to perpetuate a system of torture and greed and selfish insanity. Never have i seen anything so f***ed. I don't know who this moron thinks he's fooling. Even those poor people know better.

  • http://profiles.google.com/saintchoi Nathan Jongwon Choi

    sad story... as a south korean, I cannot accept this insanity.
    Until I watched this documentary, I haven't thought about them at all.
    Shame on my ignorance... The most insane thing is even western people can visit this poor country but south korean can not even think about it.

  • Jonas Berg

    It's not that they are socialist, it's that they have a dictatorship. Some of the most thriving countries in the world are socialist countries (sweden, norway, finland). A social democratic country, which has public healthcare, some of the best in the world.

    The word socialist has been twisted to mean something it's not. To be a socialist, you share. As in you do whats good for the collective, and that is not North Korea, It's all in the name "social".

    But I agree that their dicatorship must go.

  • Jack1952

    North Korea has 1.1 million people in its military, about 20% of its male population and is the fourth largest standing military in the world; in a country of only 24 million people. This bleeds the economy of the country dry. Every young person knows that to guarantee a square meal he must stay in the armed service as long as possible.

    The military produces nothing. It only consumes. The people in the military no longer produce food or goods for export. Everything stagnates.

    Kim Jong ll needs this army because he knows that if he disbands it, eventually the people will rebel and he will quite likely be executed. Those starving children are the result of his paranoid need for his personal security.

    For those who believe that this is all a lie I would suggest you go to N. Korea and prove it.

    Lastly, even admitting that the United States has done wrong does not mean that Kim Jong ll is a good man. They can both be wrong. In the end it would seem that a N. Korean should be the one to save his own people and not an outsider. Kim Jong ll cannot change the United States but he can change his own policies and use his army to produce food for his people. Little chance of that ever happening.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Groovylocks Ella Silver

    Far too many idiots speak in mutual exclusivity. "The USA has done some heinous things, therefore Kim Jong Il must be a good man" is essentially the same as saying "Peanut butter and pickles do not taste good together. I like Peanut butter, therefore it stands to reason that i must dislike pickles"

  • http://www.facebook.com/Groovylocks Ella Silver

    South Koreans are not allowed to visit? Probably because you speak the same language and look the same. So you can easily slip in under the wire. You are trusted by north koreans because they have no way of knowing you're from the south short of being told (I'm guessing.. stop me if i'm wrong here) I am canadian. If i visit NK I am CLEARLY an alien. A japanese person visiting NK is CLEARLY an alien. A chinese person.. etc etc.. I bet that's why. Because those NKers are told from birth that everyone who isn't Korean is evil. So we're allowed in because we're seen as complete lunatics who can't be trusted anyway. You guys could cause serious "damage" if you were turned loose down there. Just my guess.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Groovylocks Ella Silver

    yeah.. Canada is sort of borderline socialist. And we have our serious problems don't get me wrong (also don't get me started.. :D) but our biggest problem is probably nowhere near as bad as NK's smallest problem.

    There is no really "good" system that works for everyone.. because nations are too big to make that dream a reality. Too many people, guaranteed at least one person will be screwed over by any system in place no matter how good it's intentions. But.. yeah. I agree with you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Groovylocks Ella Silver

    Look at the two polar opposite nations.
    North Korea: extreme communist
    Somalia: extreme anarchist

    The problems in these two countries are totally different but both produce insane amounts of suffering.

  • http://profiles.google.com/nakor420 Anthony Young

    I heard a large shipment of food aid to the country was halted because of an upcoming missle test by NK..I think we should just send the food anyway, although, it would probably end up going to the state anyway, so nevermind. The regime in NK has to be removed at all costs I think. I don't think they have the nuclear ability they boast, it would be a killer war, but for gods sake, these people desrve some help from the world. Russia should be leading on this, they are resposible in part for causing this mess, they installed the regime.

  • Leslie

    They only allow outsiders access to the people approved to communicate with the outsiders. They do not want outsiders to have any possible effect or influence on the people. The entire system in NK is based on lies and outside influence (the truth) must be prevented at all cost! They also only allow outsiders access to the people who are healthy and basically fit the facade of the city.

    They expect the old, sick, damaged, dirty, handicap, etc. to stay out of sight period!

    They won't allow outside influence on the people inside and only want the best impression left on visitors. I have not watched this one yet, in the past this is how it has been but I believe they are allowing more documentation of "Reality" because that is the only way to get help. They initially wanted aid but hoped to give it to the people who need it the least. (this was the case in another video I watched anyway)

    The Aid worker said no, we are willing to help but insisted he had to document the situation of the people in need and would maintain control over who the aid went to as well. they agreed which is actually huge considering the history of people that had to starve to death in NK before finally asking for help.

  • Leslie

    Amazing, no thought at all? Well I have to credit you for being honest.
    I only learned recent of the insanity going on in NK, I can't believe I went this long w/o ever learning about this.
    My mother spent much of her youth in Korea, her father was stationed in Korea and helped fight off the Japanese.
    I always had the impression she had fond memories of growing up in Korea.
    Only bad she ever mentioned was what a treat it was to have Milk, because dairy products were so scarce and she mentioned the family dog disappearing and how her father (they knew dogs were beat to death) put the word out, "The Dog Better Return" and he did, 3 days later.

    My mom has passed away and I think she did so w/o knowing what had come of NK, I am sure she would have been very upset and I would have heard all about it. I don't care what are differences are and I admit my Gov is completely corrupt and needs to end it's reign of terror but NK, I think has outdone us when it comes to outright human suffering, as a human, I know, it is going to take actions of mankind to end this, and make it quick.

    Sadly, it seems the more people on this planet, the less value given to each life on it, that sad reality is shared by all the species as well.
    I wonder sometimes, does man as a whole really deserve a place on this earth anymore?

  • Leslie

    Do you really think charity is the answer? I am not arguing but I question if the better solution (if even possible) wouldn't be to pressure China and the other countries who send the defectors back to Korea, to end this practice. Most of the real suffering I believe is among the people who try to escape and their families. I don't believe the people in the labor camps have hope of ever seeing any kind of help except to prevent them from the camps in the first place.

  • Guest

    Video removed?

  • Sara tayeb

    someone shud assasinate their governer..and chnge their entire system of corruption.

    Sickening. but thanks for upload

  • CloakOfObscurity

    The issue surrounding intervention in North Korea has little to do with oil, profit, money, etc. as has been suggested. China is a very close ally with NK and at any given time, China has more military officers outfitted for combat than the United States has total population. Add to it that we now know that NK has nuclear warheads that have been tested.

    I'm sure that the international community has studied the big picture and realizes that intervening in NK's affairs would result in substantially greater damage to the rest of the world.

    The consumerism of Western society has made China an economic and geopolitical powerhouse. Through continuing to outsource production of goods to China, we are supporting their economy, their politics and their support of North Korea. The dismantling of China's power and influence has to start from the ground up. The less outsourcing that the west does to places like China, the weaker their economy becomes and the more likely they will be to negotiate with respect to human rights, political allegiances, food, etc. issues in order to try to regain global marketshare and restrengthen their economy.

    We need to make conscientious decisions to withhold economic support from countries that default with respect to human rights, etc.

    Be the change you wish to see in the world. -Gandhi

  • Ann Rhodes

    Ahn Chol is an example of the best of humanity. I don't think I'd ever manage even an ounce of his moral and intellectual courage.

  • Justnfree

    It's their government that starves them, But US barbaric sanctions.

  • Davinah

    one link only , 3 links missing. please change that link let us see the whole documentary

  • bluetortilla

    It's back on Youtube. Infuriating that Discovery/Time withheld free viewing of this.

  • Martha Jean Taylor

    Russia is on China's side

  • Eric Lawson

    Never knew Korea was growing Opium. Does not surprise me. They are desperate for money and have no real cash crops.Can only imagine how much money is being made in Afghanistan by the medical Drug companies for opiate crops.Would like to have seen the whole Doc . Good job bringing this to light !!!!!

  • Eric Lawson

    Sad treatment of prisoners !!

  • kender

    And..what? Are we the viewers supposed to believe that the guard depicted didn't participate in the killings? And we're supposed to think that he somehow "developed" a conscience? By what osmosis? The young man, who graphically describes the brutality of the camps when he himself was, by his own words, forced to participate lest he be considered "ideologically unsound".... did he too suddenly develop a conscience? The whole scenario seems contrived. This is not to say that I don't believe these things are happening, just that people who are conditioned to believe and do these awful deeds, don't magically develop a conscience one day out of the blue and realize that what they have been doing all this time is now wrong, and they are going to make an about-face, with nothing at all to prod them. What is the motivation of these whistleblowers, who before saw nothing wrong with their actions?

  • Myathewolfeh

    North Korea is has the most disgusting excuse for a government I have ever seen. It can call the West greedy, corrupt, and selfish, but in the end we don't have starving children being ignored on our streets. Sickening.

  • bluetortilla

    True. But I do have to say- all governments are disgusting to me!
    It is also disgusting how the world just sits back and watches...