[KS] SinchOn in North Korea

JAE-JUNG SUH jsuh8 at jhu.edu
Thu Feb 28 13:14:53 EST 2008

Dear all, I am relaying an inquiry on SinchOn in North Korea where a massacre was committed during the Korean War. He has apparently encountered two different accounts of the incident, NK's official history and Hwang SOkyOng's novel, and asks for further information. Can anyone offer help? Thank you in advance. JJ


A year ago I was in North Korea. As a part of the official program our group
visited the Sinchon Museum, which documents war crimes. According to the
North Korean guides they were committed around the city of Sinchon (South
Hwanghae Province) during the occupation of UN forces which lasted from
October 17 to December 7 1950. The North Korans refer to 35'383 people, who
were massacred by US troupes. 

Recently, I read the book "Sonnim" (The guest) by Hwang Sok-yong. The book
deals with the atrocities in the Sinchon region during the war. It is a
novel but based on eyewitness reports.

In contradiction to the information I got in Sinchon, in the novel the
crimes were committed by Koreans, communists and Christians. According to
the novel US troupes were not involved in the atrocities. A platoon leaded
by Lieutenant Harrison stayed two hours in Sinchon on October 17th 1950 and
handed out medicaments as well as weapons (chapter 8 of the book). Until the
retreat there where neither US nor South Korean troupes in Sinchon.

Does your organisation have further information about Sinchon?

J.J. Suh
Associate Professor
Director of Korea Studies
SAIS-Johns Hopkins University
1740 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036

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