Jiyoung Song explains how North Korea has understood the concepts of human rights in its public documents since the independence in 1945 from Japan after 36 years' colonial rule. Through active campaigns and international criticism, foreign governments and non-governmental organisations outside North Korea have been publishing numerous allegations on North Korean human rights violations. On the other hand, the efforts to engage with North Korea in order to improve the human rights situation through humanitarian assistance and to understand how North Koreans interpret human rights are often overshadowed by "naming and shaming" and "push-until-it-collapses" approaches. Dr Song gives thought-provoking and highly debatable accounts for the historically post-colonial, politically Marxist and culturally Confucian elements of North Korean rights thinking. She does this by closely reading and analysing collected works of Kim Il Sung (previous leader) and Kim Jong Il (current leader and Kim Il Sung's son), North Korea's official newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, and others monthly party magazines as well as by interviewing North Korean defectors and diplomats in South Korea, China and Europe.

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