Undercover in the Secret State

17th October 2005| Channel 4 in association with CNN Atlanta & ABC Sydney

In Undercover in the Secret State, Dispatches exposes the true face of North Korea its strict regime has strived to keep hidden. Although rumours abound of forced labour camps and systematic human rights abuses, Asia’s last Stalinist state and one of the world’s emerging nuclear powers, remains something of an enigma.

In this film, award-winning filmmaker Kim Jung Eun (Shadows and Whispers: The Struggle of North Korean Refugees) lays bare the cruel realities of daily life, presenting powerful undercover footage and interviews with defectors fleeing the regime.

Working as secret cameramen, the dissidents Jung Eun meets film public executions and concentration camps to expose the subjugated existence of a nation gripped by the cult of its reclusive leader, Kim Jong Il. The chilling footage smuggled to the outside world, hand by hand, along an underground network, makes difficult viewing.

Prisoners whose only crime was to help people escape the country are submitted to the firing squad under the gaze of men, women and school children. Elsewhere detainees in a political prison camp are incarcerated with three generations of their family for criticising the regime.


Directed & Produced by Sarah Macdonald
Reporter: Jung Eun-Kim
Executive Producer: David Henshaw