Shin In Geun was born into Camp 14, a prison for political enemies of North Korea. His first memories were of executions, and he had come to hate the parents that gave birth to him knowing that their son would also remain a prisoner:
The guards taught the children they were prisoners because of the “sins” of their parents but that they could “wash away” their inherent sinfulness by working hard, obeying the guards and informing on their parents.
One day, Shin joined his mother at work, planting rice. When she fell behind, a guard made her kneel in the hot sun with her arms in the air until she passed out. Shin did not know what to say to her, so he said nothing.