$0.25 IS DONATED EVERY TIME THIS VIDEO IS VIEWED, SHARE IT! 66,914 VIEWS AND COUNTING...
First things first, Sign the SHIFT Manifesto to join us in telling media outlets to report on the people in North Korea, not just the politics.
tell the world!
YOU SIGN THE MANIFESTO AND WE’LL DELIVER THEM.
Our goal is to mobilize 50,000 people to sign the SHIFT Manifesto as soon as possible. The sign-ups, along with refugee stories, will be sent to the desks of media heads and producers at the largest television networks in the country. Signing the manifesto is important because mobilizing large numbers will show the media there is a demand for more coverage on the North Korean people. This will lead to more awareness, which means: more action, more resources, and more refugees we can rescue and more North Korean people who can be empowered.
ONCE WE GET 50,000 SHIFT TALKERS, WE'LL LOBBY MEDIA
This won’t be your traditional DC lobby day -- your voice will be magnified as you join us and 50,000+ other SHIFT talkers as we lobby mass media and invite them to join us in shifting public perception on North Korea. Once we get 50,000 SHIFT Talkers, we will launch a new feature on this site which will allow you to use your social media to call on the decision makers. On this day we will be delivering the most compelling refugee stories, along with the manifestos, to the desks of major media heads and you will ensure the stories get told. We are going to make this incredibly easy, so mark your calendar and get ready to change the course of history.
UNTIL WE GET 50,000 SHIFT TALKERS, YOU’LL BE ASSIGNED SEVERAL SHIFT TASKS
This is not a petition, and it’s certainly not a pledge. Your commitment to shifting public perception does not end once the manifesto is signed -- that’s just the beginning! You’ll have the opportunity to use your online influence -- no matter how big or small-- to promote stories that represent the North Korean people. Here’s how it’s going to work--we’ll be watching for “SHIFT” content from the major media outlets we are targeting. If they report on the people, we’ll send you to their site to thank them and to share the message via your social networks. If the networks continue to ignore the stories of the North Korean people, we'll join together and ask them to get back on track through peaceful and creative tactics nobody can ignore. Our goal is to show there is massive interest for this kind of reporting, so it is important the analytics (web traffic) prove that. It will only work if you participate! Once the manifesto is signed, be on the lookout for an email explaining more and get ready to start talking SHIFT!
Support & give$10 a month
We aren’t just going to talk about the North Korean people, we’re going to help them too. Our goal this spring is to recruit 500 new monthly supporters so that we can sustain our awareness, refugee rescue, and resettlement programs, which directly benefit the North Korean people.
Sign up here with our
secure donation form
Monthly supporters sustain our life changing work.
Learn about how your support will save and change lives here
Thanks for becoming a monthly supporter. Here's an exclusive shirt and free downloads on us.
As a thank you for signing up to give $10 a month, we want you to have an exclusive supporter shirt and a free download of our documentary, "The People's Crisis." The free stuff is not just cool swag, these are tools to support you as you join this mission. Once your sign up is complete, you'll receive an email with instructions on how to download you free copy and get your free shirt in the mail!
THE $10 YOU GIVE WILL SAVE LIVES AND SHIFT PERCEPTIONS
Talking SHIFT is important, but while we are working to change public perception, we can also immediately impact the lives of the North Korean people today.
We are relying on you to invest in our mission so that together we can effectively shift the public’s perception, continue to rescue North Korean refugees, and develop innovative strategies to end this crisis through empowering the North Korean people. That’s how your $30 is going to make an impact this fall.
Learn more about our work here.
Starta rescue team
This year, our goal is to rescue 100 North Korean refugees from hiding in China. Start a Rescue Team on your campus or in your community to commit to raising the funds necessary to save a life! 100% of what you raise will be used to rescue refugees.
100% of money raised by rescue teams is used to fund rescues
It costs $2,500 to rescue one North Korean refugee from hiding in China. Every time your team raises enough to rescue a refugee, we connect you with the person you rescued by sharing their story and providing you with updates on how they are adjusting to their new life of freedom.
Win a visit from Danny, a north korean refugee
For every $100 your Rescue Team raises by June 1st, you will be entered for a chance to have Danny come visit your Rescue Team and speak to your community! This will be an incredible opportunity for your team to get to know Danny and to introduce your community to what life is like for the North Korean people. Danny will share his story, from his struggles in North Korea, to his victories throughout resettlement in the United States.
Watch the "Danny From North Korea" teaser here.
Learn more about Rescue teams here.
NORTH KOREA CRISIS
North Korea is widely recognized as the most repressive country in the world.
UN reports have described the human rights situation in the country as sui generis - in a category of its own, and “harrowing and horrific.” The North Korean regime attempts to deny its people almost every basic human right you can imagine. North Korea’s human rights abuses are so bad, in part, because the regime has had to rely on extreme repression to stay in power. Regime stability is the ultimate objective for the ruling elite, and the brutally efficient system of political oppression, including the prison camps, public executions and collective punishment, are the tools they have used to maintain their system.
DENIAL OF ALMOST ALL BASIC HUMAN RIGHTS
Criticism of the government or the leadership in North Korea is enough to get you and your family sent to a political prison camp. People caught practicing or spreading religion in secret are punished extremely harshly, including by public execution or being sent to political prison camps. It is illegal to leave the country without state permission, and the regime attempts to control the North Korean people’s movement even inside their own country.
POLITICAL PRISON CAMPS
Six political prison camps hold an estimated 150,000 to 200,000 inmates, and some of them are the size of cities. They have existed five times as long as the Nazi concentration camps and twice as long as the Soviet Gulags. Many people imprisoned in these camps were not guilty of any crime but were related to someone who supposedly committed a political crime. There is no due process or rule of law. Even children who are born in the camps are raised as prisoners because their blood is guilty. Forced labor, brutal beatings and death are commonplace.
Knowing the threat that outside information poses to their propaganda and ideology, and ultimately its control over the people, the regime has invested massive resources in trying to maintain an information blockade with the outside world and keep its monopoly as the only source of information and ideas to the North Korean people. It is illegal to own a tunable radio in North Korea, there is no access to the internet (except for a few hand-picked and monitored regime officials), and North Korean landlines and mobile phones cannot make international calls. North Korea remains one of the most isolated countries in the world today.
CHRONIC FOOD SHORTAGES
The collapse of the state-socialist economy in the 1990s brought down the Public Distribution System (PDS: national system for allocating food supply). Suddenly, the system that all North Koreans relied on for food was out of operation. Food supplies to less politically favored regions and sections of society were cut first. The resulting famine killed up to one million people in the mid to late 1990s, making it one of the worst famines of the 20th Century.
North Korea’s failed agricultural policies, susceptibility to adverse climate conditions confounded by environmental mismanagement, and an inability to purchase necessary agricultural inputs or food imports mean that North Korea has had chronic food shortages ever since the famine. Millions of malnourished children and babies, pregnant women and nursing mothers bear the brunt of the shortages today.
Since the famine, hundreds of thousands of North Koreans have crossed the border into China in desperate search of food, medicine and money. Even now, thousands of North Koreans flee their country every year, escaping from a combination of economic hardship and political persecution (in North Korea, these are inextricably linked). There are currently an estimated 30,000-50,000 North Korean refugees hiding in China.
If caught trying to escape, or if they are caught in China and sent back, they are at risk of extremely harsh punishments including brutal beatings, forced labor, forced abortions, torture, internment in a political prison camp and even execution.
An estimated 70-80% of North Korean women are trafficked in China. China’s lack of marriageable women, especially in the rural areas of its Northeast provinces, creates a demand for North Korean women who become at risk of being forced to work in brothels or online sex chatrooms, or are bought and sold as wives. Some women are sold for as little as $200.
BUT NORTH KOREA IS CHANGING
North Korea is changing. Significant grassroots changes have been happening since the late 1990s, driven by the people themselves, and these developments and trends have the potential to lead, eventually, to a radically transformed and better North Korea.
However, there has not been enough focus on these changes happening at the people-level, and the issue of North Korea is not associated with dynamism or change. This is because, traditionally, the focus of the international community has been on the level of international politics and nuclear weapons.
If the world knew of the dynamism and resilience of the North Korean people in the face of extraordinary challenges, and could see that underneath this Cold War style stalemate, there is a far more interesting story of hope for change, we believe many more people would be motivated to help the North Korean people.
After the state-socialist economy collapsed in the 1990s the regime was no longer able to provide for the people, and up to a million North Koreans lost their lives a terrible famine. Through this great adversity the North Korean people had to survive by their own strength, so they abandoned defunct work units, got creative and engaged in illegal market activities and foraging to obtain food.
North Korean women in particular emerged from their traditional roles to play a key role in this process, and to this day many market activities continue to be female-dominated. The market became the main source of food for ordinary North Koreans, and as food markets gradually grew to encompass a broader range of goods and services, the market mindset and profit motive spread throughout North Korean society, transforming the country from the bottom up. The regime has periodically tried to crackdown on the markets, but the people have proven their resilience. The markets are here to stay.
Grassroots marketization triggered unprecedented levels of internal and cross-border movement - much of it illegal - and trade with the outside world has grown rapidly. The influx of foreign consumer goods, primarily from China, and their spread through North Korea’s markets, is giving the North Korean people even more tangible evidence of the advancement of their neighboring countries.
North Korea is still the most closed media environment in the world, but compared to two decades ago North Koreans have a lot more access to outside information. This is having a real impact on their views and attitudes.
The regime’s information blockade is being broken down by cross-border movement, trade, and new technologies. Marketization is increasing the proliferation of mobile phones, televisions, radios, DVD players, and foreign media to consume on them. It is possible to buy cheap DVD players from China for around $20, and DVDs themselves are available for less than a dollar and can even be rented. USB drives are growing in popularity and are used with computers and newer DVD players that have a USB input port. This makes it easier to share and watch foreign media without being detected, because USB drives are much easier to conceal. The markets also provide a rare gathering space that can act as a forum for news, rumors and ideas.
North Koreans are learning more about the reality of life on the outside, and they cannot unlearn these things. All signs are that this ‘education in reality’ will only continue, and will further empower the North Korean people to push for the change they want inside the country.
Authoritarian regimes rely on preventing the formation of bonds between the people as separate from the regime. To achieve this they utilize a society-wide system of snitches and informants to keep people’s everyday behavior in check, generating a pervading sense of distrust and fear in the process.
However, North Koreans are increasingly engaging in shared illegal activities such as illicit trade or gathering with small groups of friends to watch foreign DVDs. They are more reliant on each other for goods and information that the regime is either unwilling or unable to provide. This leads to mutual dependence, trust building and the normalization of such activities within communities. North Koreans now report on each other less, and this in turn encourages the further strengthening of bonds between the people. Ultimately this could result in the emergence of a growing civil space for the people, who are breaking off from the state not just at an individual level but increasingly at a community level. This is massively significant because it would enable people to push back against the regime collectively, on small and localized issues at first. Indeed there is evidence that this is already beginning to happen.
THE MARKET GENERATION
North Koreans who are now in their 20s and early 30s came of age after the collapse of the state-socialist economy - an era of marketization and eroding state relevance - and that is the only North Korea they remember. They are the Jangmadang Generation (Jangmadang being North Korean for market) and their attitudes, values and even behaviors are significantly different from their parents’ and grandparents’ generations.
The Jangmadang Generation are increasingly separate from the state, traditional ideology seems hollow and irrelevant to them, and they are more influenced by outside information. It is no surprise then that these young North Koreans show more interest in foreign dramas, films, fashions and music, and feel little attachment to the regime or the leadership, seeing regime officials as takers rather than providers and as the source of problems inside the country. They have both less respect and less fear of the regime compared to previous generations, and they could prove to be a crucial demographic in pushing for change in the future.
SO, WHAT DOES THIS ALL MEAN?
FOR THE NORTH KOREANS
North Korea is changing. Significant grassroots changes have been happening since the late 1990s, driven by the people themselves, and these developments and trends have the potential to lead, eventually, to a radically transformed and better North Korea.
Although we cannot know the exact path through which the North Korean people will gain their freedom, it is clear that pressure from the people on the inside will be crucial for producing a transformation of the country. Therefore, the key challenge is to help empower the North Korean people so that they themselves can push for and accelerate change inside the country.
FOR THE REST OF THE WORLD
There has not been enough focus on the challenges the North Korean people face nor the changes happening at the people-level, and the issue of North Korea is not associated with dynamism or change. This is because, traditionally, the focus of the international community has been on the level of international politics and nuclear weapons.
If the world knew of the dynamism and resilience of the North Korean people in the face of extraordinary challenges, and could see that underneath this Cold War style stalemate, there is a far more interesting story of hope for change, we believe many more people would be motivated to help the North Korean people achieve liberty in North Korea.
We’ve created some cool SHIFT material for you to help spread the message in your community and to promote for your screening! What are you waiting for? Get out there and start promoting!
Haven’t booked a screening yet?
Do it here!
4X6 PROMO CARDS
4×6 Shift cards with a space to write the date, time & location of your event. Hand them out & fill those seats!
Download 4x6 Cards
A bunch of posters for you to promote your event! These posters come with special (easy & awesome) instructions you’ll see when you download them.
When we see images from North Korea, they are usually political. That will change. There are 40 posters, each with a different image, showing North Korean people. Get creative.
Download Shift Posters.
A few Facebook banners to promote Shift, as well as the Shift arrow with a transparent background for you to place on your profile photo!
Download Facebook SHIFT
Not a computer nerd but still want the Shift arrow on your FB photo? Maybe Eric, our design intern, will have some time to help. Email him your photo and ask nicely. firstname.lastname@example.org
LOGOS AND GOODIES
Creating a poster to promote your event? Awesome! Keep your poster legit by using the proper logos.
Download Logo Files.
1- WHAT DO YOU MEAN, “PEOPLE NOT POLITICS?” SHOULD WE DISREGARD THE POLITICS SURROUNDING NORTH KOREA?
The phrase “people not politics” reflects our wish to move on from the traditional political emphasis on nuclear weapons, regional security, and the regime leadership, to more attention on the North Korean people, who face the biggest threats and challenges of this whole situation, but whose situation has been relatively ignored. We do not suggest that other political factors are not important, they of course are, and we can rest assured that there will always be media, analysts, and politicians focused on the ‘high politics.’ We believe, however, that the whole issue would benefit from having more focus on the people, and that is the motivation behind SHIFT.
2- HOW DOES CHANGING PUBLIC PERCEPTION HELP NORTH KOREANS?
For too long, North Korea has been defined by international political issues and the regime leadership, and we believe this has hindered action by concerned citizens. We want to shift the conversation on North Korea towards the people because they are the agents of change inside the country. If the world knew of the dynamism and resilience of the North Korean people in the face of extraordinary challenges, and could see that underneath this Cold War style stalemate, there is a far more interesting story of hope for change, we believe many more people would be motivated to engage on this issue.
People all over the world would see change is already being driven by the North Korean people and there are opportunities for them to get involved to help empower the people to accelerate and create further change inside the country and ultimately help transform North Korea. Shifting the focus of conversation on North Korea away from high politics and onto the people is necessary to reveal this as a hopeful and dynamic issue, and to mobilize people and resources to come alongside the North Korean people.
3- WHY IS LINK TARGETING THE MEDIA?
When Kim Jong-il died, “Team America” was trending on Twitter and apart from the North Korean state media's footage of loyalists crying hysterically, there was no focus on the people. When Kim Jong-un was named successor he became a household name overnight. Ri Sol-ju made headlines all over the world just because she married into the family and was paraded by state television. It is ironic that the western media, free to report on whatever they choose (if they have access), end up reporting on the same things the tightly controlled North Korean state media does, i.e. focusing on the activities of the Kim family at the expense of highlighting the lives of the North Korean people or the changes that are happening inside North Korea.
This coverage has shaped our perception of North Korea and has isolated it as a hopeless, untouchable crisis. We are targeting the media because they have the influence to change mass perception. They have the ability to spotlight the challenges faced by the North Korean people daily and cover the stories of hope and change, which will humanize North Korea and make it about the people, not the politics.
4- DOES LINK HATE THE MEDIA?
No way! Mass media is influential and we want to use that influence in a positive way, which is why we are going to help by providing compelling insight on this issue and introducing the media to refugees who want to share their stories. Our goal is not to be antagonistic, but rather to mobilize thousands of people who are interested in the stories of the North Korean people, so the mass media will be more interested in covering these stories and bringing hope to this issue.
5- WHY DO YOU NEED TO COLLECT MY INFORMATION TO SIGN THE MANIFESTO?
Signing the SHIFT manifesto is not like signing a petition or pledge, it’s an active commitment to use your voice to SHIFT public perception. We are collecting your email, phone number, and zip code (or postal code) for very specific reasons. We’ll be using your email to stay in touch and to send you “SHIFT material” to share with your networks. We’d also like to call you once, to thank you for signing up and to share a more in depth overview of our campaign and to offer you an opportunity to ask questions. Your zip allows us to understand the strength of our support base geographically. Don’t worry, we will never give away or abuse your info, and your personal information will not be given to the media networks.
6- WHAT IS LINK’S STRATEGY TO END THE NORTH KOREA CRISIS?
After researching this issue for years, talking with experts from think tanks and academia, practitioners, diplomats, and gaining many insights from North Korean refugees themselves, we believe that change will happen in North Korea and that change will come from within. Although we cannot know the exact path through which the North Korean people will gain their freedom, it is clear that pressure from the people still inside will be crucial for producing a transformation of the country. Therefore, the key challenge is to help empower the North Korean people so they themselves can push for and accelerate change inside the country.
Please read more about our Theory of Change for North Korea here.
7- HOW WILL THE MONEY RAISED FROM THIS CAMPAIGN BE SPENT?
All donations made to the “SHIFT” campaign will go towards LiNK’s general funding, which will be utilized to push the organization’s mission forward; providing funding for such things as our refugee work and programs in the field (shelters, resettlement, etc), awareness efforts, research and strategy developments, and operations (we have to keep the lights on!). General funding provides sustainability to our organization, since we want to keep working on this issue, and allows us to direct funding to programs and areas where the need is greatest.
8- HOW DOES LINK MANAGE ITS FINANCES?
LiNK understands that resources are generously and sacrificially given by our supporters and it’s our responsibility to steward such resources with integrity and transparency. LiNK’s finances are managed by the organization’s Executive Leadership Team, working closely with our in-house accountants. Further, LiNK’s finances are governed by the Board of Directors. LiNK files compliance and regulatory reports to government entities through an outsourced CPA firm.
You can learn more about our financials and check out our annual reports here
9- IS LINK A NORTH KOREA SYMPATHIZER ORGANIZATION?
LiNK sympathizes with the North Korean people, who are faced with the most repressive regime in the world. Do we sympathize with the regime? No way!
10- AREN’T YOU ENDANGERING THE LIVES OF THE PEOPLE BEING USED IN THE PHOTOS FOR THIS CAMPAIGN?
Any photos used in this campaign are ones that have previously been used by international media organizations or have been taken by photographers visiting the country and have been used publicly (we also have the photographers consent). The photos do not endorse the campaign and the people are not connected with any LiNK activities, these photos are used for illustrative purposes and therefore no people are being put in danger through their use.
11- HOW CAN I GET MORE INVOLVED?
Glad you asked! There are several ways you can help. Scroll to the bottom of this page to learn more about the opportunities to get involved.
12- WHERE CAN I LEARN MORE ABOUT THIS ISSUE?
The learn section of our new website has more information on this issue than you can shake a stick at, and also has links to other key resources.
13- WHERE CAN I LEARN MORE ABOUT LINK’S PROGRAMS?
All is revealed in the programs section of our new website!
14- HOW DO WE KNOW WHAT IT IS LIKE INSIDE NORTH KOREA?
North Korea is the most closed off country in the world, so it does present an information challenge. However, there are sources inside the country, both open and secret, as well as thousands of North Koreans who leave every year and provide LiNK and other researchers with valuable insights on current conditions inside the country.
15- WHY DOES LINK SPEND MONEY ON AWARENESS? SHOULDN’T IT ALL BE USED FOR THE REFUGEES?
LiNK’s work is threefold. While rescuing and assisting refugees is an important part of our mission, we work to pursue a dynamic and holistic approach to fulfilling our vision of seeing Liberty in North Korea. There are several reasons why we spend money on awareness:
People and resources. Support starts with awareness. There are still a lot of people out there with little or no clue what is happening in North Korea. By humanizing the North Korean people and showing it as a less-political, more relatable issue, and by showing that there is hope and there are ways to affect change, more people and resources will be mobilized, which will lead to greater impact on the ground, hopefully leading to a larger market for “helping the North Korean people.”
Policy. Sustained focus on the people is important to show policymakers of all countries (even those in Pyongyang), that citizens all over the world are concerned with the plight of the North Korean people, and therefore create pressure to ensure that NK-related policies will be constructed in a way that helps (or certainly does not harm) the people, even if there are other concerns to deal with such as nuclear weapons.
Impact on the North Korean people. as the NK people themselves learn that ordinary people in the outside world are genuinely interested in and concerned with their struggle, this will gradually help overturn the propaganda which paints countries in the outside world as selfish, hostile and untrustworthy places, and will have the effect of decreasing support for the regime and encouraging further change.
Preparation for the long-term. No matter how North Korea changes in the future, and it could go down several pathways, there will be a need for understanding of and a respect for the concerns of the North Korean people. In fact this could become even more important in the future depending on how North Korea changes.
16 - WHO IS DONATING $0.25 A VIEW?
The video sponsor has decided to remain anonymous but he believes this message needs to reach the masses. To help make that happen, he is donating $0.25/view for the first 100,000 views (holy shift, that's $25,000!). Monetizing each view provides an incentive, which increases the amount of shares so as many people as possible can learn about Shift and the North Korean people. So what are you waiting for? Share away!