Discussion Question

Yes, there are political prisoners in the world. Unfortunate men and women, certain classes, and political dissidents are still suffering in some areas of the world. Read the articles, “A Call for Aggressive Media Campaign Regarding DPRK Prison Camps by Lee (2014), and “China’s Perception and Policy about North Korea by Shulong (2015), which are required reading for this week.

Human rights advocates are aware of this situation. (See this Human Rights Watch World Report 2017 – North Korea.) The U.S. government is aware of this situation. The Chinese government continues to support the North Korean regime. Some cracks have opened in North Korea, including some market activity (i.e., smuggling, black markets) since the famines of the late 1990s and early 2000s. Knowledge of the abuse of political prisoners in North Korea and other dictatorial regimes is widespread.

For this discussion, respond to the following:

  • What could or should major world powers such as the United States and China do to address the mistreatment and abuse of political prisoners in other countries?
  • Specifically, how can the United States help to reform the political culture in those countries that arrest and abuse political prisoners?

Note: At the time of the latest revision of this course (December 2017), relations between the United States and North Korea have become incredibly tense due to North Korea’s nuclear ambitions and threats against its neighbors. President Donald Trump has not taken a military response to the situation off the table. The situation is too fluid to continually update in the course materials, so it will be important for you to check credible news sources prior to posting to this discussion to make sure that your response takes into consideration the latest developments.

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