Communist-controlled North Korea is supposed to be one of the world's happiest countries. It ranked itself the second happiest in a survey released earlier this month. But an Australian news outlet has obtained exclusive footage showing that North Korea may be closer to hell than happy.
The footage obtained by Australian outlet ABC was smuggled out of the country by an undercover Korean journalist. It shows children who are forced to beg for food, and how even Army soldiers are now losing rations due to food shortages.
Watch a brief excerpt of the footage starting at about 25 seconds below:
"Everybody is weak," one young North Korean soldier told the undercover journalist. "Within my troop of 100 comrades, half of them are malnourished."
Additionally, the footage shows how the shortage of food has relegated many children to beggars, some as young as 8-years-old:
The video shows young children caked in filth begging in markets, pleading for scraps from compatriots who have nothing to give.
"I am eight," says one boy. "My father died and my mother left me. I sleep outdoors."
Many of the children are orphans; their parents victims of starvation or the gulag.
But markets do exist - private markets that stock bags of rice, pork, and corn. The state no longer has any rations to hand out.
"This footage is important because it shows that Kim Jong-il's regime is growing weak," Jiro Ishimaru, the man who trained the undercover reporter to use the hidden camera, told ABC.
"It used to put the military first, but now it can't even supply food to its soldiers. Rice is being sold in markets but they are starving. This is the most significant thing in this video."
Read the full report here.