We’re celebrating International Women’s Day 2014 with six stories of inspiring North Korean women.
Meet In Ae! She escaped North Korea with her sister at a young age. Now, she’s a South Korean citizen and high school student.
“People’s Unit heads are openly critical of the orders, saying that if everyone is doing something illegal, who will report it? If there was a way to make money that wasn’t illegal then people would do that instead.”
In order for her son to escape North Korea with her, Hyun Joo was forcibly sold as a bride in China.
If you’ve been online within the past 24 hours, you’ve probably noticed the extremely important report out of the UN yesterday.
Following a year-long investigation, the widespread human rights violations in North Korea were formally recognized today by the UN’s commission on human rights in North Korea.
The first time I met my husband was at a retreat for North Korean defectors in the United States.
I met my wife in a small motel in China, where I was hiding after my escape from North Korea. We grew closer over meals where we shared our sad life stories.
Tim was three years old when his father died of starvation. After years of scraping by, he and his mother escaped to China to search for food.
Everyone has a LiNK story about how they got involved and I’m excited for the opportunity to share mine with you.
He rescued over 600 Jewish children from the fate of internment in Nazi concentration camps. Many of these children went on to do great things in the countries where they settled.
I’ve been one of the few lucky members of LiNK’s staff able to participate directly in our rescue missions, and it’s been an experience like none other.
Duk Jin came under suspicion from the North Korean secret police after helping a family member leave the country.
JST was formally removed from office and expelled from the KWP during a recent KWP meeting. Unlike many other previous purges, Jang’s dismissal was very public and broadcast on NK state media.
Jang Song-taek, KJU’s powerful uncle and an established member of the regime’s inner circle, has reportedly been removed from power.
Judy has been on the road for the past 9 weeks touring the southeastern part of North America and wanted to share what it’s like to be a Nomad!
Join us this #GivingTuesday and help fund ONE live-saving rescue.
NKorean authorities have started granting full internet access to representatives of companies visiting NK for investment meetings.
Fifteen NKoreans were captured by Chinese police last week in Kunming, southern China and it is feared they will be repatriated back to NK.
Joongang Daily: Some 80 people were publicly executed earlier this month in seven cities in NK, excluding PY.
Wage levels for workers in some larger industrial enterprises have risen by a factor of approximately one hundred times.
Authorities are warning citizens about the unhealthiness of choco pies, the danger of foreign tourists, and leaflets being sent over from SK.
From next year the SK military will develop next-generation equipment to broadcast both radio and television across the whole of NK.
Sold as a bride to a Chinese man after months of resisting and being held against her will, Min Hee faced many difficulties because of the language barrier.
In her region, women weren’t allowed to wear shorts or earrings until just a few years ago. Things like this and the encouragement of her family led to her eventual escape from North Korea.
Ji Young set out for China with high hopes of working and making money only to learn soon after arriving that the woman who had given her food had arranged for her to be sold.
Thanks to your support we were able to bring another 17 refugees to freedom.
149,500 NKoreans legally visited China from January to September, a 12.5% increase on last year. If this rate is kept up this could be the first year that China has 200,000 legal visits by North Koreans.
RFA: Despite good harvests, farmers are reportedly anxious because the authorities have failed to articulate a single clear allocation plan for this year and because of previous broken promises.
In efforts to improve its economy, PY has reportedly asked provincial administrators to select two cities from within their province to serve as potential “Open Cities.”
Last Monday morning the KIC reopened its doors. Operations continued over the Chuseok holiday but some businesses believe it will take several months before production levels are back to normal.
Years before Tae Woo’s escape, his father, too, once crossed the North Korean border. In search of food for Tae Woo and his three sisters.
Event Notice: Asia Society in San Francisco, 17 September 2013, featuring our friend Sunghee Jo who will speak about her life in North Korea and will be joined by a panel of experts.
After marathon negotiations, NK and SK have agreed to reopen the KIC. The agreement was reached 136 days after SK workers were initially forced to leave the complex.
SK has promised 8.4 million USD in aid to NK. 6.3 million USD will be used to help finance the WHO’s efforts to improve medical services to children in NK.
ROK MOFA plans to launch a 5-person task force to deal with issues related to NK refugees who are en route to SK.
Ji Yeon had a very rough childhood. Her mother gave her up at a very young age.
COI Chairman Kirby: “After today’s evidence, if (NK) seriously expects the international community to disbelieve the existence of such institutions, then they have to really open up their border to allow an independent body to go and have a look at places.”
NK and SK reached a five point agreement on reopening the Kaesong Industrial Complex after a seventh round of talks.
Chinese authorities in NKorean border areas have installed miles of barbed-wire fencing along a stretch the Tumen river, dramatically reducing the number of defectors. Work on the fences began about 2-3 years ago and has now blocked access to China along the Tumen River from its western end to the east.
The ROKG has approved 7.3 million USD in aid to NK. 6.04 million USD of the aid will come via the ROKG and will be allocated towards a project to help NKorean infants, while the additional 1.25 million USD in aid will go toward NKorean children via five private SKorean donor groups. NK has not responded to SK’s “final offer” for N-S talks on the future of the KIC.
Nine-year-old Song Hyun has traveled further in his short life time than most of his fellow North Koreans.
80% of Anju city in South Pyongan Province is reported to be now under water due to the monsoon rains hitting the Korean peninsula.
Hae Eun’s family raised goats, bees, and foraged for mountain herbs and vegetables to sell at the market.
Prior to her escape, Nae Rae lived a relatively comfortably life in North Korea. Although she was neither hungry nor faced with hardship, she feared that she would be unable to continue her studies if she remained in her home country.
Six people have died and hundreds left homeless after flooding due to heavy rainfall on the Korean peninsula, which also caused deaths in SK.
A high-ranking NKorean military official who defected last year has spoken about an internal struggle for military influence between National Defense Committee Vice Chairman Jang Sung-taek, and the director of the General Political Department of the Chosun People’s Army Choi Ryong-ha.
Sarah is both bright and charming. She plans to resettle in South Korea with her husband and infant child.
We all know why people are challenged by this statement. The current perception of North Korea is completely politicized. It is about crazy dictators and nuclear weapons. This is going to change.
KREI reports that NK’s imports of Chinese grain in the first five months of 2013 fell by 14.2% compared to last year, possibly indicating improving harvests.
When she was 9 years old, Haejin’s family home burned down. With nowhere to live, they were forced to live a nomadic lifestyle, staying with different families.
The BBC World Service’s plans to establish broadcasts for the NKorean people have been hit by a 2.2m GBP annual budget cut.
Marie escaped North Korea and found herself hiding in China, still not quite free. She connected with LiNK and made the choice to resettle in the United States.
Though he experienced extreme oppression, hunger, and isolation from the outside world, he was not motivated to leave the country until he married and had his first son.
In North Korea, Bo Ram was sent to a gymnastics school when she was eight years old. Students were made to do vigorous exercise in spite of the lack of proper nutrition or care for injuries they received while training.
Traveling halfway across the world to live in a country where she didn’t know many people or fluently speak the language took much courage!
ROK MOFA pledges to increase diplomatic efforts and cooperation to ensure the safety of NK defectors. Meanwhile, KCNA criticised the Blue House for bringing 18 defectors to SK from Laos.
Hardened by the imprisonment of her husband and a famine that left her family starving in the 1990’s, when Sun Young one day found that she had unknowingly crossed the border into China, she left her family behind in North Korea to seek a better life abroad.
Ae Ra is a talented musician. Now in her late 20’s, she has studied music since she was a child. She plays the flute, piano, and guitar.
This spring, we tasked our Rescue Teams—in high schools, colleges, and communities around the world—with raising the funds to rescue 12 North Korean refugees ($30,000).
As one of our older clients coming through the underground to freedom, it is incredibly inspiring to see the optimism and hope that Dae Jung has for the future.
NK’s crackdown on attempted defections and illegal border crossers has swelled the prison population since KJU came to power.
Ben, an energetic 10 year old boy, lived apart from his mother for three years while she desperately tried to find a way to bring him out of China.
Ji Min has one thing he’d like to say to Kim Jong Un: “I wish you could just find some way to turn the common people into kings.”
We are rescuing 100 refugees this year! Help make that possible.
RI Ki Song, NKorean economist: “Last year, we studied reasonable economic management methods in different fields of economic work, and introduced it to some units on a trial basis.” He said North Koreans work hard, but the new incentives give them motivation to work even harder.
SKorean media reported that nine young NKorean refugees who had been detained in Laos have been forcibly taken to Pyongyang via China. In the group were two girls aged (in Korean age) 15 and 16, and seven males aged 23, 20 (x2), 19, 18 (x2), and 16.
Rice-planting season means that the entire population has been mobilized to work on the farms, including children. Official market hours are also restricted.
Last week our CEO, Hannah Song, was invited to speak at the Oslo Freedom Forum among some of the most inspiring dissidents and activists working on issues around the globe.
The stuck record of high politics and North Korea.
MOU: The number of NKorean defectors that have arrived in SK this year (up to early May) is 556, leading to a prediction that around 1200 will arrive this year – a 20% decrease on 2012.
“All the workers who used to be in Kaesong have been dispatched to factories, enterprises and cooperative farms in the North Hwanghae Province region.”
A Daily NK source reports that the decision to close the Kaesong Industrial Complex originated from Kim Jong-il.
NK’s National Defense Commission demanded an end to sanctions, a complete withdrawal of “all nuclear war measures deployed in SK and neighboring regions”, and an apology before they would engage in dialogue.
Authorities are stepping up crackdowns on the viewing foreign media, reportedly in response to an increase in the use of USB sticks to view dramas on Chinese-made DVD players.
NKorean workers are not turning up to work in the Kaesong Industrial Complex.
Hae Sun had to learn how to take care of herself very early on. She spent many of her teenage years as a salesgirl on North Korean trains
NK authorities have banned entry of SKorean workers into the Kaesong Industrial Complex. 858 South Korean workers, and 7 other foreigners remain onsite and are allowed to return home.
The UN Human Rights Council unanimously passed a resolution establishing a Commission of Inquiry to investigate human rights violations in NK.
The UN HRC is expected to approve a UN Commission of Inquiry (COI) into NK’s human rights violations.
LiNK and Movements.org co-hosted a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” (AMA), providing a platform for a recent defector from North Korea to respond in real time to various questions.
In an attempt to encourage redefectors, the NSA is holding lectures telling the people to convince their family members who have defected to return.
Rodman goes to Pyongyang.
Forced market shutdowns and celebration events regarding the most recent nuclear tests are causing complaints and social tensions.
NK has returned to normal from a heightened state of emergency.
Details have been revealed about the expansion of Camp 25, including an increased parameter with additional guard posts, as well as new buildings and renovations.
NK authorities are reportedly limiting movements of people and goods during the current state of heightened military mobilization, and cracking down on unlicensed traders operating outside officially sanctioned marketplaces.
NK turned up the level of fierceness of its rhetoric, to the chagrin of everyone, including China.
New satellite imagery shows the addition of a new area next to Camp 14 which bears striking similarity to other known prison camps.
German economists and lawyers are advising the NK regime on ways to open up to western investors, including by improving their investment laws.
1,508 NKorean refugees arrived in SK in 2012, a 44.3% decrease on the number of arrivals in 2011 (2,706).
SK will maintain analog TV broadcasting into NK so residents on the other side of the DMZ can continue to watch SKorean broadcasts.
Park Geun-hye, the conservative candidate, won an absolute majority to become the next president of SK.
The NK regime seemingly has put a satellite in space, with a bit of help from Iran.
NK announced it would launch a rocket around the anniversary of KJI’s death.
KJU seems concerned about internal security, emphasizing the need to root out “dissidents”.
There are now over 1.5 million subscribers to NK’s official Koryolink mobile phone network, representing steady growth along 2011 trends.
Are you in a band… youth group… chess club… and want to change the world? Awesome! Check out Rescue Teams.
The role of NK’s Cabinet in designing and running economic policies is reported by the Choson Sinbo to be increasing.
The WPK Central Committee met in order to establish a State Physical Culture and Sports Guidance Commission, to be chaired by Jang Song-taek
The Roberts family was recently exposed to the plight of the North Korean people and their children were moved to action.
Around 1,440 NKorean refugees are expected to arrive in SK this year. It will be the first time since 2005 that fewer than 2,000 NKorean refugees have arrived in SK.
I can’t believe we’ve been on the road for over a month already!
Reports of changes in regime personnel as well as the abolition of the notorious Rooms 38 and 39.
If you haven’t noticed already, LiNK’s image recently got a makeover, so we thought we would share some thoughts behind the design.
NKorean sources report that none of the experimental farms will be given 30% of their production because the 6.28 Policy has been put on hold until next year.
What is going on with KJU’s “reforms”? And where does this path lead to?
KJU instructs the NSA to combat the infiltration of information into the country.
Important information on NK’s food security, economy, public health, criminal code, refugees, etc.
Camp 22, a political prison camp in Hoiryeong, was reportedly shut down after the defection of the warden.
SPA ends with no news of economic reforms.
NK refugee numbers showing signs of rebounding after intense crackdowns on both sides of the border earlier this year.
Further reports of flood damage in NK and international assistance, including from SK – for the first time in two years.
Get to know our nomads who will be bringing SHIFT to a town near you this fall!
A bonanza of news, analysis and speculation related to possible NK economic reforms this week.
40+ people joined a spontaneous protest after rumours spread that they would not be given new housing they had been expecting.
I just used the phrase “jazz cat.”
… Am I part of the solution?
More signals of possible economic reforms emerge from inside NK, while skeptical commentators on the outside have their say.
Jang Song-taek is in China to discuss economic cooperation projects.
Once again, it’s about the people, not the politics…
KJU continues to talk up the goal of making the country prosperous and people’s lives affluent.
Hyeonseo Lee grew up in North Korea and made the difficult journey to China in 2008.
KCNA reports that recent flooding has left 88 dead, 63,000 homeless, and 74,700 acres of farmland destroyed.
Hae Jung has lost many beloved ones. In hopes of finding food and a better life, she escaped to neighboring China.
In May our research and strategy analyst took to the TED stage to share his ideas on tackling the North Korea crisis.
As a teenager growing up in North Korea, Ella was solely responsible for her family.
The regime is reportedly explaining the nature of forthcoming reforms, which is getting people’s hopes up.
The day that Suji became an orphan she was standing with her older sister at the river that separated North Korea from China.
Kyung lost both of her parents and was raised by her loving grandparents as their sole grandchild.
Throughout her childhood, Cate always struggled to find food – she remembers being constantly hungry.
Min-Ji is around 11 years old. She was left on the streets in North Korea at a very young age. She has no idea what her real name is.
101 refugees have been rescued & are now living in freedom thanks to your support. We did it!
KJU signals his ‘complete’ control over the military.
Your creativity and impact during The Reliance campaign caught the attention of the largest philanthropic awards ceremony in the country.
Sexual revolution and research on intimate relations in North Korea: People are people, and love is love.
Six Chapter representatives joined LiNK on a trip to South Korea, and met the refugees whose rescues they made possible.
Daily NK has obtained interesting information on plans for weak agricultural reforms.
It’s here! Check out what we’ve been able to accomplish with your support!
Kim Jong-un is a relatively untested dictator. Does he follow in his fathers footsteps or change his country. Have advice for him?
North Koreans are scrambling to be granted one of the 40,000 recently allocated Chinese work visas.
In case you haven’t been following the story of Ai Weiei, let him inspire you by watching the trailer for “NEVER SORRY”
Kim-Ian ate one meal a day and lacked adequate clothing despite her parents constantly working to support their three children.
Russia has agreed to write off 90% of NK’s $11 billion Soviet-era debt.
We here at LiNK just wanted to give a shout-out and show some love to Levi Ammundsen, an amazing supporter of ours.
Songbun is the underlying system by which the NK ruling elite controls and oppresses society.
Check out this radical “book burning” campaign that inspired our creative team today.
New National ID cards reportedly contain a code to instantly identify individuals blacklisted by the regime.
Moon-Su spent many months at this orphanage but eventually, with the help of a friend, built up enough courage to escape
USG statements on the inevitability of change in NK and the importance of information dissemination in furthering that change.
The NSA is co-opting Korean Chinese smugglers to provide intel on SK NGOs and Christian groups.
Societal, economic, and informational changes are revealed in changing consumer behaviour.
Internal document reportedly admits starvation caused by “excessive food quotas for the military.”
My father went out with a lunch box to pick mushrooms. All of a sudden he said his head hurt,
Ultimately this could feed the growth of a civil space for the people, separate from the regime.
China has again intensified crackdowns against NK refugees and the NGOs assisting them.
If you only had access to boring NK state media, you would be interested to watch SK dramas too.
A breakdown of the regime’s monopoly as the single source of information is a very good thing.
Food shortages in North and South Hwanghae Provinces reportedly leading to starvation deaths.
We truly do live in a world that’s upside down, at least in the way that I see it.
NK govt actions against families of defectors have reportedly been stepped up since the NSA took over border security from the Ministry of People’s Armed Forces.
Ken is all the way from South Korea and has brought the joy of dance to our HQ office.
Well-off NK parents are paying bribes to hospital staff for medical certificates to keep their children from being required to participate in this year’s mass games.
Daily NK guest column on how to maintain and grow international media attention on the North Korean human rights crisis.
The New School was kind enough to donate Tishman Auditorium, a 480 seat theater in the heart of the city so that we could share our new documentary with our New York friends.
The number of NK refugees that arrived in South Korea in Q1 2012 was down 39% on the Q1 2011 figure.
Jung Hee resorted to picking plants in the mountains in North Korea after the police shut her down for selling goods.
North Korea’s admission of the failure of its recent rocket launch caught analysts by surprise. What is with the new honesty?
The irregular supply of water in Pyongyang is reportedly becoming a growing source of discontent among residents.
North Korea’s rocket launches are meant to instill pride among the people and increase support for the regime. Does this work?
Kim Jong-un speaks! Also, the regime admits the failure of its “satellite launch”, and is condemned by the UN Security Council.
Without the support and hard work of our Chapters in 2011, 25 refugees who were rescued would still be hiding in China today.
Michael and Donna recently escaped North Korea with their young daughter (Isabel).
Heather escaped to China for the second time and was sold again to a different man who she lived with in fear and isolation, enduring more abuse.
We love Jon! He withdrew from The George Washington University Law School because he was so compelled to make a tangible difference on the issue.
Sun Mu was born in North Korea and worked as a propaganda artist for the North Korean regime. We had an incredible opportunity to work with him.
I didn’t really know what to expect from screening, but by the end, I didn’t want to leave!
A look behind the visuals on our most recent documentary design
Kim Jong-un named “First Secretary” of Korean Workers’ Party while North Korea readies rocket in defiance of international community.
Meet Kyla, one of the most happy, energetic, and positive interns that has ever worked with us!
The Reliance is a human network of individuals committed to seeing every North Korean refugee free
The People’s Crisis premiere was a great night for sharing the voice of the North Korean people
A weekly summary of news relevant to North Korea and its people
Beneath all the high-politics and focus on security concerns, there is quite a different story involving the North Korean people.
AI – Amnesty International (NGO) ARF – ASEAN Regional Forum ASEAN – Association of South East Asian Nations CCP – Chinese Communist Party DMZ – Demilitarised Zone DPRK – Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) DUP – Democratic United Party (South Korean opposition party, liberal) FAO – UN Food and Agriculture Orgnization FDI – Foreign […]
Min Sung told us that the hardest part about escaping from North Korea was to leave his family.
Instead of attending school as a child, Yoon-Hui worked in the fields to help her ailing mother and father survive.
Yae Jin was able to find true love in China. She was sold to her husband’s family, but unlike the other husbands, he was kind and affectionate to her.
Mi-Sun was rescued in 2010 and is safely resettled in the United States
Ki-Won was rescued in 2010 and is safely resettled in South Korea