In the past ten years, approximately 3 million North Koreans have died from a food crisis and other persecutions committed by their government. As a matter of survival, about 250,000 North Koreans have escaped to China - only to live in worse conditions there. Some women are subjected to lives as prostitutes or as brides to Chinese farmers. Men end up working as farmhands or living homeless in the woods, while children become homeless street kids.
If the North Koreans are are caught in China, the Chinese Government arrests and send these refugees back to North Korea (hundreds each month), directly violating international laws under which China is held liable as a member of the UNHCR (UN High Commissioner for Refugees). Defecting from North Korea is a capital offense, and these repatriated refugees endure such abuses as concentration camps, torture, forced abortion, and executions.
Seoul Train* is a documentary aimed at raising awareness of the plight of these North Koreans and their only hope - an underground railroad reminiscent of those from the histories of America and Nazi Germany. Harvard's Asian Pacific American Society will be showing this documentary tonight, Friday, May 2nd at 5PM in Larsen G08 (on the campus of Harvard Graduate School of Education).
To find out more info about the film, the dire situation facing North Koreans and North Korean refugees, and how you can get involved, check out www.seoultrain.com.
*fyi: Seoul is the capital city of SOUTH Korea. Since the armistice ending the Korean war, only about 6,000 North Koreans actually have found freedom in the south. Most North Koreans travel via the underground railroad over thousands of kilometers of Chinese territory and head to Mongolia or Southeast Asia.
Photo courtesy of Eric Lafforgue.