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Before Kim Jong-Il Died: Inside North Korea

Excusive Pictures, Video, and More From the "Dear Leader's" Dictatorship

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North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il waves to soldiers earlier this year.

With the news that dictator Kim Jong-II is dead at 69, "we are in oblivion on what's next" for North Korea, in the words of one National Geographic explorer. But change generally comes slowly in the world's most isolated country, where all public life can seem as staged as the synchronized stadium performances celebrating the birthday of Kim Jong-Il's father (picture).

To pull back the curtain on North Korea as it was in Kim Jong-Il's time, National Geographic is offering free streaming video of Inside North Korea, in which an undercover Lisa Ling exposes "unimaginable horrors" and "absolute conformity." And in China and South Korea, National Geographic magazine offers rare access to Kim Jong-Il's diaspora: escapees struggling to cope on the other side of the DMZ. Plus, facts, maps, and more.