In this undated photo released by the Korean Central News Agency and distributed Sunday, Jan. 27, 2013 in Tokyo by the Korea News Service, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attends a consultative meeting with officials in the fields of state security and foreign affairs at undisclosed location in North Korea. Credit: AP
While it's certainly not the first allegation of cannibalism to come from North Korea, it's equally as disturbing as those that preceded it. Troubling reports of a rise in starvation -- and cannibalism -- have emerged inside of a nation that continues to be intensely-secretive and shut off from the wider global community. According to an independent outlet called Asia Press, North Koreans are so desperate that they are increasingly turning to corpses and even murdering their own children for food.
One man allegedly dug up his grandchild's corpse and ate it. Another purportedly killed and boiled his child for food. Of late, yet another individual has reportedly been executed for killing two of his children for the same purposes.
"In my village in May a man who killed his own two children and tried to eat them was executed by a firing squad," one informant said of the latter incident.
According to the source, the father killed his daughter while his wife was away on business. Then, he killed the son because the latter child had witnessed his sister's murder. When the wife came back from her trip, her husband said that they now had "meat." After becoming suspicious, she contacted authorities who later discovered parts of the children's bodies.
The "hidden famine," as it has been called in North and South Hwanghae, is what appears to be driving this alleged horror. According to the Daily Mail, up to 10,000 individuals have lost their lives due to a lack of food -- a figure that encapsulates the extreme desperation that may be driving the unthinkable.
Of course, the secretive and insular nature of the North Korean government makes it difficult to ascertain definitively whether instances involving human beings consuming one another are actually on the rise as some sources have claimed. Asia Press, the independent outlet issuing these reports, describes itself as a media venue that is trying to be "free from any dependence on capital and authority."
While outlandish and unbelievable, this isn't the first time the international community has heard similar stories. In the past, numerous reports about cannibalism have come from North Korea. The Daily Mail highlights some of these past instances:
In May last year, the South Korean state-run Korean Institute for National Unification said that one man was executed after eating part of a colleague and then trying to sell the remains as mutton.
One man killed and ate a girl and a third report of cannibalism was recorded from 2011.
Another man was executed in May after murdering 11 people and selling the bodies as pork.
In Oct. 2011, TheBlaze reported about Kim Hye Sook and the unbearable pain and emotional suffering that she endured during her 28-year detention in a secretive North Korean concentration camp. Brutal executions, starvation — even mothers killing and eating their children to ensure their own survival — were regular occurrences.
In an interview with CBN News, Sook recalled a mother boiling her 9-year-old daughter. In a separate fit of desperation, a woman killed her 16-year-old son, chopped him up and took him to a butcher to obtain some corn in exchange.
(H/T: Daily Mail)