Child labour is keeping North Korea's elite ski resort open

Louis Dor
Sunday 29 January 2017 10:00
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Kim Jong Un rides a ski lift during his inspection tour at the Masikryong resort, near Wonsan, North Korea. Picture:(RODONG SINMUN / EPA)

Thousands of men, women and some children as young as 11 are clearing dozens of miles of snow with sticks, pickaxes and makeshift shovels in order to keep North Korea's elite Masikryong ski resort open.

This is according to an NBC report on the resort which is a three-hour drive east from Pyongyang.

The workers, who are forced into the backbreaking work alongside uniformed soldiers, do so without the aid of machinery:

There are no trucks to scatter salt. The workers dig the frozen ground and throw earth and stones on the icy road to keep the few cars that travel here from skidding off.

The resort has 10 slopes, an Olympic sized pool, and many imported luxuries available to the visiting North Korean elite.

Oh, and a small bit of propaganda:

At the bottom of the slopes a giant screen blasts out patriotic music, showing scenes of saluting generals and Kim's officials from a Communist Party conference.

Thus it is a sore point to the regime that next year the Winter Olympics will be held in Pyongchang in South Korea.

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North Korea has long been seeking to expand its tourism industry in pursuit of valuable foreign currency.

British vlogger Louis Cole uploaded footage of his holiday to North Korea, which looked like a propaganda piece.

Cole said, following his trip, for which he would have been strictly vetted:

Just seeing places like the waterpark blew my mind because it made me realise that the things we see in the media about North Korea being frozen in time and very basic... there are elements of that, but it was primarily today just realising that 'wow, there's a very active, happy civilization getting on with their every day life' and it's not too dissimilar from other cultures I've seen.

Amnesty International says of North Korea:

it's in a category of its own when it comes to human rights violations.

There is no such thing as freedom of expression in the DPRK, and tens of thousands of people every year who are seen to be resisting the totalitarian government are tortured or sent to a work camp.

Remember that when you book your next skiing holiday.

More: 8 things that are great about North Korea... according to the British YouTuber who went

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