Articles, Blog, , , , , , , ,

The North Korean Human Rights Crisis

The North Korean Human Rights Crisis

CHRISTINE HONG: Hi. We’ll just get started
right now. Thank you everyone for showing
up on a Friday morning. I know some people are working
from home because July 4 is coming up. But I really appreciate
you guys being here. My name is Christine Hong. I am part of the international
engineering operations team. We help to set up
and expand our engineering centers worldwide. But this has nothing
to do with my job. I just know Adrian. And he is a guy who is so
passionate about what he does. And has a big heart. I thought he would be a fresh
breath of air for Googlers and an inspiration to all of us. A little bit about Adrian. He is executive director
of Liberty in North Korea, or LiNK. He was recently arrested by the
Chinese authorities and jailed in 2006 for his work in
helping North Korean refugees escape to freedom. And we have lunch scheduled
at Charlie’s. You’ll see a table reserved
under LiNK. And we’ll get started. Here’s Adrian. [APPLAUSE] ADRIAN E. HONG: Hello. I guess thank you for taking
time out of your day to come here, let me speak, and
learn a little bit more about this issue. It’s probably more to hear
about the issue than me. Before we start, I’d
just like to show a short clip that we’ll– it’s almost a compilation of
recent news, and just footage surrounding the North
Korea crisis. But I will have to find
the DVD player. But, again, my name
is Adrian Hong. Well, I’m from San Diego. But I’m currently stationed
out in Washington, DC. I travel a lot, but that’s
where our offices. And our organization is a
non-profit, non-partisan, non-religious, non-ethnic
group that is focused I guess– number one priority is on North
Korean human rights. And I’ll get a little bit
more into what that means here in a second. [VIDEO PLAYBACK] -The children were
starving, dying. They were literally dying
on my hand because there was no food. -Right now, we’re doing
Operation Drop Dead here. And millions are starving
in North Korea. Tons are in prisoner camps. We got to make a note on–
people don’t care here. That’s why we got to do dramatic
things like this to get people to pay attention to
what’s really going on in the world, that there are people
only 30 kilometers north of here suffering, and dying,
and starving, and in prison for no reason. They have no human rights. And no one cares. And no one [UNINTELLIGIBLE]. So we have to do these kind of
measures to show people, to make people care. [SPEAKING KOREAN] [END VIDEO PLAYBACK] ADRIAN E. HONG: So, again,
my name is Adrian Hong. I’m here speaking on behalf of
a group called Liberty in North Korea, or LiNK
for short. And I’m going to go into a
little bit of background initially on what exactly
we mean by North Korean human rights. How many of you were aware of,
I guess, the human rights crisis in North Korea
before you got the email about this event? OK. So there’s a good amount
of penetration here. How many of you were aware that
there are concentration camps in North Korea? OK. Great. Well, we have a very socially
conscience group. OK. Well, as we all know, burned
into our collective memory is the memory of the Holocaust.
All the way as early as elementary school and middle
school when we’re reading about the diary of Anne Frank
and watching Schindler’s List, we have a very strong collective
memory of what happened in Nazi Germany and
with the Axis Powers. And 6 million Jews died. 45 million dissidents
and criminals– not criminals, but criminals
according to their state. And other people that were
considered undesirable by the Nazis were executed and were
killed in what is, I think, one of the darkest times
of the last century. After this happened, there was
a lot of promises made by individuals and governments
around the world. Never again, was this phrase
that was repeated over and over again. We can never again have a
situation where any country or group can get away with
destroying an entire people based on their ethnicity,
their race, religion, or political views. And the sad truth of it is,
despite all those bold promises we have, as you’re well
aware, the situation in Darfur today. We had Rwanda about
10 years ago. And actually we now have
North Korea as well. So I’m going to get a little bit
into the background here. North Korea currently
has about 23 million people in its country. Actually, closer to 24 million
now as of last year. It is a communist totalitarian
state, which is weird because it’s the only communist dynasty
in history where the father has passed it
on to the son. It’s not even, I think, a
pure communist state. It’s essentially a cult. It’s a religion based around the
founder, Kim Il-sung, who was passed away about 10 years
ago but is still the titular leader of the country. And it’s a country that is very
different from everything else, I think, in the history
of the world. And I’ll get into a little bit
more about the details there. And Kim Jong Il, as you’re all
aware and you’re all familiar from Team America
World Police, is now the current leader. And he is lonely. This is the Korean War
that split the Korean Peninsula into two. So the south, you have a
prosperous, democratic, capitalist society. And, in fact, if you know any
Koreans or Korean-Americans, we all trace our heritage from
the south at least one generation back. Because if you’re from North
Korea, you cannot get out. It’s just a fact
of the matter. And this is Kim Il-sung,
of course, the leader of North Korea. Sorry. That’s just gratuitous. I should have taken that out. That’s Kim Jong Il, the current
leader, with the Jiang Zemin, the last president
of China. This is the border between North
and South Korea, the most heavily fortified
border in the world. I think Bill Clinton, when he
was president, visited the border and said it is the
scariest place on Earth. There are huge amounts of troop
concentrations pointed at each other between South
and North Korea. And, technically, the two Koreas
as well as the US and these other countries
are still at war. It’s only an armistice. It’s technically a cease fire. They are not at peace. In fact, the United States
doesn’t even recognize North Korea, and vice versa, as
legitimate countries. In the last 10, 15 years, about
2 million to 3 million North Koreans died. North Korea went through a
series of famines and floods from ’94 to ’96. But the floods and famines
in and of themselves were not the problem. At the time of the floods and
famine, North Korea received the most international aid of
all the countries in the world, a lot of it from
the United States. They had enough food, clearly
had enough food, to feed its people but did not. In fact, what they did is– since they got international aid
they said, OK, well, let’s not feed the people with what
we have to begin with. Let’s sell it on the
black market. Let’s feed the military. Let’s do other things
with that aid. In fact, there are aid bags from
the Red Cross or things like that say, Gift of the
American People, Gift to the Japanese People, Gift to the
EU, that have shown up on black markets in Russia
and China. Also, there have been bags of
heroin, which North Korea exports, put into aid bags
marked by the Red Cross and used to smuggle out. And so this is a country that
clearly does not consider its people as a vested interest.
Kim Jong Il has been quoted saying that only 10% of its
country has to survive, only 10% has to survive, to be
considered a successful state. So if you’re going with that
standard, they’re not doing so badly right now. But an estimated 10% of North
Korea did perish in the last 10, 15 years. About 13 million of all 24
million people in North Korea are malnourished. It’s a medical state that– essentially, you cannot
recover from chronic malnourishment. You cannot. If you’re a child from between
the ages of maybe zero and five, when you’re first born you
need to get regular food, regular breast milk,
nutrition. Otherwise, you will get
stunted permanently, physically, in terms of your
growth, in terms of your height, your weight,
and also mentally. You will get mental retardation
because you are not able to eat functionally
when you’re a child. And 13 million of North
Korea’s population is currently like that. The average Russian is 250
grams, which is a minuscule, minuscule amount. And most of the people
actually don’t even get that ration. The World Food Program supported
6.5 million people in North Korea up until about
a year ago when they got kicked out. And then now they’ve brought
back in, they feed 1.2 million people which means– all these statistics, basically,
what it means is a lot of people are starving
in North Korea. Three times as many people
starved in North Korea in the last 10 years than did in the
Ethiopian and Somalian famine. And so this is a tremendous
crisis that very few people are aware of. And the biggest distinction
with this crisis is that it’s man-made. It is not a result directly of a
huge tidal wave, or a flood, or an earthquake, or
a natural disaster. It is inherently man-made. And that is why I think it
warrants our attention a little bit more. A seven year old North
Korean child is 105 centimeters metric. And a seven year old South
Korean child is 125 centimeters. That’s the average height
between the two countries. Now, these two countries
were not separated until about 1950. They were one country
for 5,000 years. So they’re the same DNA, the
same genetic makeup. But that’s the height difference
on average, just at seven year olds. Once you get older, the average
height for the North Korean military is around
five feet solid. For the military. And even at the DMZ levels,
you can see the major distinctions between South
Korean soldiers and American soldiers, as opposed to
North Korean soldiers. In terms of health, there
is no public health infrastructure whatsoever. The hospitals are overrun. There’s no electricity going
throughout the country. There’s a lack of clean water. And there’s a huge, huge
epidemic crisis with typhoid, scarlet fever, tuberculosis, and
diseases like dysentery. Did anyone play Oregon
Trail when they were in elementary school? AUDIENCE: You would
die of dysentery. ADRIAN E. HONG: You have
died of dysentery. That still happens
in North Korea. Weakened immune systems cause
deaths from the common cold because your system cannot fight
it off, something we get over with a night’s sleep and
Dimetapp, or Robitussin if you don’t like Dimetapp. It kills people in
North Korea. They die from this, because
there’s a weakening immune system because they don’t get
basic food every day. And, finally, as I mentioned
earlier there is stunted growth and severe brain damage
in a whole generation of North Korean children. So that is essentially the
context, the background, of the situation in North Korea
without even getting into the human rights situation. Already, we’re starting off
from severely malnourished population. No medical care and public
health situation. And everybody inherently is born
and raised with stunted immune systems and just
health in general. On the right, you see there are
two North Korean refugees. They’re aged 21 and
22 years old. On the left, that’s myself. So those two gentlemen
are very, very, very small for their age. In fact, they were
joking around. They looked like hobbits. And they were joking
around about that. But that’s the result of a generation of physical stunting. And this is actually in one of
our underground shelters in China that I’ll get into. In North Korea, the only
information that you get from anywhere is from the government
directly. Outside radio, news, television,
print media is all banned which means the only
source of information, whether it’s about history, current
affairs, or politics, is from Kim Jong Il and the leaders. If you are caught reading or
listening to outside radio, whether it’s South Korean
or Russian or Chinese or American, if you’re caught
reading outside magazines and newspapers, if you’re caught
changing the wiring on your television or radio so you can
get outside broadcasts, you are sent to a concentration
camp. That is a reality of what’s
happening in North Korea. So you have a whole
generation. Back when we were talking about
the Soviet Union and the Cold War, you had Eastern Europe
and you had the Soviet bloc where there was an amount
of propaganda and brainwashing involved. But you could always still turn
the channel and listen to Voice of America, or Radio
Free Europe, or BBC. And you could get an
alternative view. You could get a sense for what
was really happening behind the propaganda. Not to mention the additional
fact that many of the people that were living during Stalin’s
reign and after that had already been born and raised
before that happened. So they knew that the
outside world was not really like that. And they bought into the
propaganda just for appearances sake. In North Korea, it’s been
there for over 50 years. And you have people that are
born and raised in the system and know nothing else. So when you’re talking about
helping North Korea or reunifying with North Korea, as
the South Koreans say, or engaging North Korea, you’re
dealing with 23 million people that don’t know what the
real world is like. It’s literally like unplugging
from the Matrix. And it sounds like
a corny analogy. But it literally is that bad,
where you have people come out and they’re shocked
that there’s cars everywhere in America. Or they’re shocked that South
Korea’s not a victim of nuclear holocaust. Or they’re
shocked that Americans don’t have horns, which actually
North Korean children’s textbooks have Americans with
horns and tails with pitchforks, believe it or not. That’s how far the propaganda
has gone. And the fact that you have full
grown adults believing that and getting shocked that
that’s not the case says a lot about their mental condition. There are no freedoms of speech,
religion, assembly, movement, anything. Every fundamental freedom that
exists in the world, in this country in particular, every
fundamental freedom that is guaranteed by the universal
declaration of human rights does not exist in North Korea. Even saying, hmm, today’s
rations were not so great, is enough to get you to a
concentration camp. In the past we’ve had refugees
testify that they had been– for example, there was
a magazine with a picture of Kim Jong Il. And they put a cup down
on it, and the condensation left a ring. That got them sent to a camp. Another woman heard a South
Korean pop song. I don’t know where
she heard it. She heard it somewhere,
and started whistling it to her friends. Her three friends got sent to
a mid-level labor detention camp, and she was sent to
a concentration camp. The other thing that’s severe
about North Korea’s system, there’s about 250,000 in the
concentration camps now. And, for example, if Christine
were to commit a crime today, and she said, oh,
you know what? Today’s lunch didn’t really
taste that good. That is interpreted as being,
the state is not good. The country is not good. The leadership has failed us
in one way or another. And it’s supposed to be
a socialist paradise. When she says that, she goes
to concentration camps. But Kim Il-sung has a principle
that says three generations must be punished
for every crime to wipe out the seed of dissent, which means
her children and her children’s children, or her
parents and her children, are all sent with her. North Korea is the only country
in the last 200, 300 years that criminalizes children
for political crimes. Mao, Hitler, Stalin, they all
did not throw children into political camps. They did it for ethnic reasons,
but other things– but for actions they did not. If you’re a second grader and
you go, you know what? It’s kind of weird that Kim Jong
Il gets all of our food and money and we get nothing. I mean, you’re a
second grader. You’re precocious. You should say what’s
on your mind. You will go to a camp, and you
will send your parents and relatives with you. There’s a gentleman named Hwang
Jang-yop who’s over 80 years old, who was the highest
ranking North Korean defector ever to leave that country. He defected through Beijing
and ended up in Seoul. He lives essentially under
house arrest, until now. When he defected, 70 households,
that means 70 families that were somehow
related to him, were all sent to concentration camps. And so that is the impact of how
it’s like in North Korea. When you meet any North Korean
diplomats, if you’re ever so fortunate or not, they are
always travelling in twos. And they never have their
family with them. And the reasoning for that,
obviously, is so they can keep each other in check, and so
that they don’t defect. Their families are essentially
held hostage. The same thing goes for Olympic
athletes, for folks that travel abroad for
conferences and governmental relations and things
of that nature. This is a map of the network of
North Korean concentration camps that we know of. And many of these are accessible
by our favorite platform, Google
Earth, as well. In fact, that’s been a
tremendous tool in helping spread awareness about
these issues. And these are just the
known major camps. Back during the holocaust, the
excuse a lot of people made was that we did not know, that
it was outlandish and ridiculous that human beings
are capable of such things. Gas chambers, human
experimentation, Zyklon B. They could not conceive of a
government institutionalizing and turning their energies to
creating an infrastructure to kill people in that
huge number. To have train lines going to
concentration camps, to have guards whose sole function was
to kill people the fastest, to recycle human hair, human bones,
to remake goods for the war movement. That was ridiculous
and inconceivable for the outside world. And obviously at the time, a
lot of government officials actually knew this to be true. But after the war ended,
the world was stunned. After the war ended, people
were in shock. Allied troops that liberated
Dachau and Auschwitz were in shock. They could not believe
that human beings were capable of such– and I know evil’s overused these
days, but it is evil. Today we have unbelievable
amounts of proof. 11,000 refugees have come to
South Korea, among them prison guards and prison
administrators, people that used to run these camps that
say, this is how many people I had in my camp. This is the product that we
were forcing them to make. This is how many public
executions we had a week. They’ve labeled each building to
tell us what each building was used for. We know what time they wake up,
what songs they’re forced to sing, how many steps they
have to take around the building when they’re punished,
and what the names of the guards are. We know that much detail and we
have satellite pictures of all the camps in North Korea. That’s the difference between
today and maybe 1935 or 1940. We have the awareness. It’s just a matter of a lack of
will, or political will, to make a difference about this. In the camps in North Korea
and in general, there is a system of public execution. If you commit a crime against
the state that’s warranted bad enough to make an example of
you– say you try to escape from a concentration camp, say
you try to lead an uprising, or say you just say one
day, I’m tired of a forced military draft. The military draft in North
Korea is over 10 years. 10 years. That’s 17, you go on for
10 years or more. If you complain, you’re
tied up to a stake. You’re beaten up. And they fill your
mouth with rocks. Does anybody know why
that might be? I’m sorry? AUDIENCE: Dehydration. ADRIAN E. HONG: Close. They’re already beaten
up tremendously. But, they’re filled with rocks
so they can’t speak because if you’re about to get shot and
publicly executed, you have nothing to lose at that point. You’re going to speak your mind
and say, this government sucks, or our situation
is not right. This is not inherently, morally,
or ethically right. So they fill their mouth with
rocks, and then they tie it into a post and they publicly
execute them. We actually have videos. I have some available, if you
want to see it, of public executions in North Korea. The other thing they do in
concentration camps is that they make the family of the
victim or the accused come up and stone him to death before
they shoot him. And they make every single
person in the concentration camp come up, pick up a rock,
and throw it at the guy in order to say, we agree
with the state. You have committed a crime. We are purging you
from our society. If you do not, you will be
strung up next to him. That is the way North Korea’s
created the system. You’re either with them
or against them. And if you’re against
them, you die. There are no champions speaking
on their behalf. There’s no underground
dissident movement. There’s no revolution. There are no outside governments
or agencies of the UN speaking out for them or
saying, today four more people were executed. Last week, 200 people died
in concentration camps. It’s just not there. There are forced rapes and
abortions in these camps. In particular, when women come
back from China– and I’ll get into why they end up in
China to begin with. If they come back pregnant,
they’re assumed to be a child of mixed race, of mixed
heritage, probably with Chinese blood. And North Korea’s official state
policy, believe it or not, is of a pure Korean race
where they say, if you are a child of mixed heritage
we will kill you. If a woman comes out pregnant
from China, they will forcibly abort the baby. In a hospital and sanitary
conditions, they use a syringe filled with salt water. And if that doesn’t work, they
kick the woman’s stomach until the baby dies. And if that doesn’t work, they
wait until the baby is born, put it in a box, and let
it die out of exposure. That’s the way they do this,
weekly, on a weekly basis, in North Korea. In fact, when Hines Ward– if you’re familiar with the
Pittsburgh Steelers MVP for the Super Bowl. When he won the Super Bowl,
South Korea was fanatical about him. They said, look,
he’s so great. He’s one of our sons, and
we’re so proud of him. North Korea actually went as
far as to issue a public statement that said that they
condemn South Korea’s love affair with mixed race, and that
they– what did they say? One drop of mixed race in the
Han River will not dilute 5,000 years of racial purity. The government issued a
statement saying this. That’s the kind of system
we’re dealing with. It’s unreal. It’s something we watch in
movies or we see on the History Channel. It’s happening right
now in 2007. Infanticide, as I mentioned
earlier, is widespread in that country. Hot boxes. It’s literally a box just the
size of a human body where you crouch down. And you cannot move, and
it’s just in the sun. And you bake there forever. They leave you out there for
weeks if you do anything that’s seen at any hint of
rebellion when you’re in a concentration camp. Defectors have testified that
they would sit in these boxes for weeks burning their flesh
because, obviously, they can’t move and it’s made of metal. And any bugs and caterpillars
and rats that would scurry by, they would grab and eat. And that would be the only
way they could survive. Gas chambers. There are strong allegations
of gas chambers in North Korea. Several defectors that have left
have actually brought out paperwork detailing the details
of glass chambers that are made of glass, so that
scientists can study what effect the gas has on families
that are put in there together, for example. One story, personal anecdote
that I have. We were with a bunch of defectors that came
to Washington, DC. And we were helping them
tell their stories. And they were all arm wrestling
each other. They were like children. They were all arm wrestling
each other. And then one guy just was
destroying everybody else hands down, easily. And then he said, the reason I’m
so strong on my right hand is that when I was a child,
they forced us to cut down wood every day. Firewood. He grew up in a concentration
camp, essentially. So his right arm is incredibly
strong because he would have to cut wood all of his life. There was another defector
that’s now 16 years old that is now in the United States. We brought him out ourselves. He pointed out on Google Maps
a cultural center, a museum, and a school that he went to. He pointed out his house. And then he told us a huge
complex, a factory, down the street from his school
was built by them in elementary school. Every day they wouldn’t study
math or science or history. They would walk out and march
down the street, and dig in coal mines every day at
the age of 10 and 12. And they had to literally
build this camp. This is the way that
the society has been in North Korea. “At the camp, I witnessed public
executions, forced labor, and other inhumane
atrocities. A new prisoner in the North
Korean political prison camps is taught not to consider
themselves as human beings. The prisoners cannot complain
of beatings or even murders. Even the children are subject to
forced labor, and about one third of them die of
malnutrition and heavy labor. I also suffered from
malnutrition after being imprisoned, lacking even
the strength to walk. I witnessed a whole family being
tested on suffocating gas and dying in the
gas chamber. The parents, son
and a daughter. The parents were vomiting and
dying, but till the very last moment they tried to save
the kids by doing mouth-to-mouth breathing. Later– in 10 years, or in 60–
it will surely turn out that quite a lot was known in
2004,” or now 2007, “about the camps of North Korea. It will turn out that
information collected by various human rights groups,
South Korean churches, oddball journalists and spies added up
to a damning and largely accurate picture of
an evil regime. It will turn out that there were
things that could have been done, approaches the South
Korean government might have made, diplomatic channels
US government might have opened, pressure the Chinese
might have applied. Historians in Asia, Europe, and
here will finger various institutions, just as we do now,
and demand they justify their past actions. And no one will be able to
understand how it was possible that we knew of the existence
of the gas chambers, but failed to act.” And again, these are
more satellite pictures of the camps. This is Yodok camp, which is
by far the most notorious. The Auschwitz, basically,
of North Korea. And, again, the 250,000 people
in there now and the half million that died in the
last 30 years, they’ve committed no crime. These are not criminals,
murderers, rapists, arsonists. These are basically citizens
that have expressed a little bit of discontent, or wanted to
practice Buddhism, or any religion outside of what the
state has practiced, or one day did not show to re-education
class. Every week, every person in
North Korea has to get in their little small group. The whole country’s regimented
into small groups. And you have to criticize
each other. Mutual criticism sessions,
where you tell the other person what you did wrong that
week against the state. And he corrects you and says,
comrade so and so, the dear leader would not like it if you
did this, back and forth. Everybody is an informant
in that country. Everybody is an informant. In fact, if you don’t report
on someone else’s crimes or someone else’s descent,
you will also go to a concentration camp. So it’s very well known in that
country that these are places from where you
cannot return. There are about 400,000 North
Korean refugees hiding in China and other countries. If you were in North Korea
today, most likely you would want to leave unless you were
one of the military elites or the political elites. And so they obviously
try to leave across the border into China. Now, the border between China
and North Korea is a river, at some point is no wider
than from here to that door over there. And at some points, it’s
only up to knee height. So the average person can
probably sneak out. Every 50 meters along that
border, if you ever visit there you’ll see them. There are little bunkers of
wood with North Korean soldiers sitting there
pointing at China. For any refugees that might
run across, they literally shoot them in the back
and that’s it. If the Chinese authorities will
catch you, they will send them back to North Korea. North Korea’s constitution,
their actual law, criminalizes leaving the country without
permission. That’s a UN universal human
right, freedom of movement. But in North Korea, you cannot
leave without permission. You can’t even leave
your hometown. If you run out of food or your
electricity doesn’t work or there’s no clean water,
you will die. If you know for a fact the town
next door– literally if it’s 50 meters away, if the
border’s right there you cannot go over and get
food or water. It’s criminalized. You need a permit, an actual
permit, from the government to leave your town. To leave the country is treason,
no matter why you leave. If you accidentally got
drunk and stumbled over, if you were hungry, if your little
sister ran across and you went back to get her, or if
you were trying to defect, whatever your reasoning was,
if you leave that country you’ve committed treason and
it’s punishable by death in that country. Which means that we have about
half a million North Koreans running around in the
underground in China and Russia and these other
countries, Thailand, Vietnam, that are in hiding from
their authorities. And China, actually in
particular, hunts them down and sends them back
to North Korea. Amnesty International has
reported that they’re wired through their collarbones. Because they can’t afford
handcuffs, they literally wire them through their collarbones,
put them in trucks, and send them back. Other refugees have told us that
they literally put barbed wire through their palms
and then tie them. And we’ve had refugees
show us their scars here in their hands. And they actually mark them
physically so they know how many times they’ve
been caught. That’s the reality of what’s
happening in that border there at this moment. These refugees, as I mentioned,
are repatriated to severe punishment. An estimated 70% to 90% of the
women among these refugees are sexually trafficked. And they’re sold on the black
market, sometimes for as little as $100. Refugees have testified that
they’ve been sold several times over. If you’re younger and more
attractive, you’re sold for a higher rate. If you’re older and
less attractive, you’re sold for less. And they basically use them
and discard them. Refugees have told us that
they got into a cab. They cross into China somehow. They got into a cab and they
said, I want to go to the embassy, or I want to go to this
church, or I want to go to my relative’s house. The cab driver picked up their
accent, realized they were North Korean, and drove
them to a warehouse and sold her off. What do you do at that point? You can’t speak the language. You can’t go to the police
because they’ll send you back. There’s no choice. There’s no solution
at that point. There are other situations
where they go into a restaurant. And the restaurant pretends
to take them in and says, you know what? We’ll take care of you. Have some soup. Get some rest. And in the
morning, we’ll take you to a church and they’ll
protect you. The soup was drugged. They wake up tied to a
pole in the basement. That is the reality of what’s
happened to over 70% of these women out there. So when we talk about sex
trafficking, when we talk about human rights violations,
when we talk about concentration camps, it is all
happening in North Korea today to a tremendous, tremendous
degree. Among these, many of the
children are also trafficked. If you go to, for example, the
train station in northeastern China you’ll get swarmed by
little kids coming up to your waist asking for money. Every now and then the Chinese
government cracks down and sends them all back to North
Korea as per their arrangement, where they’re put
into camps or severely, severely punished for
what they’ve done. Another problem we
have is this. There’s a huge shortage of
females in Northeastern China, females of marriageable age. Does anyone know why that is? AUDIENCE: Sex selective
abortions. ADRIAN E. HONG: Yes. The one child policy has
resulted in sex selective abortions, feticide
and infanticide. So basically, as of 2010, China
will be short by an estimated 30 million females. 30 million females. I mean, 30 million guys are
going to be needing wives. And so as a result, there’s
black market, trafficking market has created, where you’re
bringing in people from Thailand, from Burma,
but also in huge numbers from North Korea. Now, I’m not saying all these
unions between Chinese males and North Korean females, or
North Korean males and Chinese females, are loveless and
they’re all trafficking. That’s not the case. There are many situations that
we know personally even where a Chinese male has been
very, very noble and just a good guy. And they fall in love and
they have children. The problem with that is even
if they legitimately married with a Chinese citizen, that
woman is illegal for life. Even if they have a child and
the child’s father is a legitimate Chinese citizen,
he is illegal for life. He cannot go to school. He cannot get a job. And he cannot get
medical care. There is no life whatsoever
in that country. If you’re one or two years
old, that’s OK. You can sit at home, play
with your mother. If you’re five, six, you
need to go to school. If you’re 10, 12, or 18, you
need to get a job and get out of the house. There’s a whole underclass
in China, several hundred thousand of its people that
cannot move, cannot leave their homes, cannot do anything,
anything at all. And so to address this, LiNK has
actually opened up about 50 underground shelters
throughout the region where we have our staff members that go
in there and literally hide refugees, just like you would
imagine in Anne Frank’s attic under the bookcase. And they bounce around different
shelters whenever one gets raided. That’s the only solution we can
think up outside of having the Chinese government
change their policy. And I’m sure we’re all
aware here of how difficult that is to do. The International Convention on
Refugees defines a refugee as, “a person who is outside
his or her country of nationality or habitual
residence, has a well-founded fear of persecution because of
his or her race, religion, nationality, membership in a
particular social group or political opinion, and is unable
or unwilling to avail himself or herself of the
protection of that country, or return there for fear
of persecution.” All this fancy talk basically
means, you cannot go back to your home country because you
will be killed or punished. All of these refugees
in China effective fall into that category. And so, the UNHCR, which is a
UN agency that deals with refugees, should by all rights
go into China, find these people, give them a certificate,
and say they’re refugees, and protect them from repatriation of North Korea. It does not whatsoever. There is no agency in the world
that is protecting North Korean refugees right now. There are limited amounts that
have escaped, whether they crossed on foot all the way to
Mongolia or Thailand or other countries that might let them
out, or somehow they’ve gotten the guts to jump a fence into
an embassy, like the Spanish embassy, and ask the Spanish to
send them to the US or to South Korea. But by and large, most of these
people are just rotting away in basements. They cannot do anything because
the Chinese government will hunt them down, especially
in advance of the 2008 Olympics when it’s China’s
time to shine on the world stage. So these people are literally
being chased down and being hunted and sent back in large
numbers at the moment. This is the border between
China and North Korea. If you look here, this
tiny little bit of water, that’s the river. That’s the Tumen River. So you can imagine how easy it
is for a refugee that’s living across the river and starving
or being persecuted to cross over into China. And China, to them, is
a whole new world. It’s shocking when
they hit China. They see the amount of cars
and television and media. The fact that you have more than
one channel on TV, the fact that you have more than
one type of cheese in a supermarket. I mean, it’s shocking to them. They’re stuck in a time warp. So the transition from there
to South Korea is huge. And then from there to the
United States is tremendous. It’s life changing for them. About 400,000 of these
people are living out there right now. Back before the Civil War in
this country, we had something called the Fugitive Slave Act. Does anyone know what that is? Yes. It feels like class. OK, sure. He does know. Essentially, the northern
states were free. The southern state had slaves. And so many slaves escaped from
their plantations to the north, to places like
Connecticut and New Jersey, and declared their freedom
that they had. The southern states rebelled and
said, we want you to pass Fugitive Slave Act which
basically said, if a slave would escape to the north we
will send them right back to where they came from. And what would happen when
they got sent back? They would be tortured. They would be raped. Or they would be killed. It was not illegal to kill
your slaves at that time. It’s a dark chapter in
American history. It’s a time when we compromised
our morality for the sake of political stability,
I would say. And it’s happening again. This is just exactly what South
Korea, what China, and what a lot of these countries
are doing. They are sending back refugees
or taking in only minimal amounts and discouraging them
from coming for the sake of good diplomatic relations
with North Korea. This is a detention
center in China. This picture was taken
by myself. And I’m not particularly
ninja or CIA-trained. Literally, we just went up
there and took a picture. That’s how real and accessible
this is. This is where they processed
North Korean refugees before they’re sent back to
North Korea proper. We know for a fact that several
people have died there because we’ve counted the number
that have gone in. And fewer numbers
have come out. In fact, the mother of one of
our activists in China also perished here. This is a North Korean defector
who was formerly a member of Kim Jong
Il’s joy team. Kim Jong Il, and it sounds
ridiculous, has a squad of about 2,000 women split up
into three categories– happiness, satisfaction,
and joy team. They make up singers, dancers,
gymnasts, and also people that [? perform, ?] obviously. It’s essentially his
personal harem. And she escaped when she was
on the Pyongyang’s official gymnastics team. And she came out to testify at
the United States about this. We’ve had defectors testify
in the senate. This woman on the upper left,
she is the one that sung a South Korean pop song and got
sent to a prison camp, for whistling a South
Korean pop song. These people have testified in
agencies throughout the world, with the US Senate, the House of
Representatives, the United Nations, the European Union. And nothing is being
done for them. Nothing at all. And I can say that
very clearly. There’s nothing being done
for these people. So LiNK initially started
as a reaction to this. When you hear about these
things, your first reaction is, wow, that really sucks. Your second reaction is, well,
someone must be doing something for this. So I’ll just help them. That’s how we started. And we discovered that nobody
was doing anything about this. And if they were, they were
using human rights as a means to an end. And we felt that we needed to
be a movement purely for the sake of human rights. So we started out very
in the typical amateur grassroots way. And we had some concerts for
them, benefit concerts. We had protests. We had defectors speak. This is outside the
Chinese embassy– the Chinese Mission, actually,
in New York to the UN. And they usually shut down and
lock up, and kick us out when that happens. We had artists starting to
prepare art for this cause, and major forums where we had
defectors speak about their experiences all over
the country. And since then, we’ve actually
broached out 200 chapters worldwide, all the way in
Australia, South Korea, EU countries, and throughout the
United States and Canada. In the last three years, we’ve
actually developed a great deal beyond that to where
we got a little bit more sophisticated. About a third of what we do is
based on advocacy, a third of it is based on awareness,
and a third of it is on underground work. And I’ll get into that
in a minute. This is a protest we
did in front of the South Korean UN mission. Does anyone have a question why
we would do that in front of the South Korean mission? After all, it is a capitalist
free society. They are not actively running
concentration camps. The reasoning for this is that
South Korea’s government has instituted something called
the Sunshine Policy, where they give unconditional amounts
of aid to North Korea and don’t ask where it goes. If you give cash up to billions
of dollars, if you give huge amounts of food,
grain, medicine to North Korea and don’t ask them who’s getting
it, can we monitor the food, obviously they’re
going to be using it for legitimate means. Beyond that, the South Korean
government has censored defectors from speaking
out publicly. They’ve actively worked to
discourage groups like ours from speaking publicly in South
Korea, and prevented getting visas to defectors that
wanted to go leave the country to testify about this. In other words, the South Korean
government is clamping down on human rights dialogue to
prevent bad relations with North Korea. And so we had a protest. This sign says 22 million is
more important that Tokto. Tokto is an island between
Korea and Japan. It’s uninhabited. It’s maybe the size
of Googleplex. And Japan and South Korea have
basically declared diplomatic war against each other
over an island. I understand it’s important. It is Korean territory. It comes with fishing rights
and mining rights. But there are no lives
on that island. The South Korean president to
date has said not a single word about North Korean
human rights. We’ve briefed a congressional
delegation going from this country to South Korea
to meet with them. And they asked him, why has your
government not taken a stance on human rights
in North Korea? And the president of South
Korea’s answer was, it is a peripheral issue. The rights of 22 million, now
24 million, Koreans, a third of all the Koreans on the
planet, is a peripheral issue. Concentration camps, mass
starvation, malnutrition, public executions, is
a peripheral issue. And so generally you can
separate our work, as I mentioned earlier, into three
different categories. The first category
is advocacy. We do briefings of governments
worldwide. I just met with the Canadians,
and the French, the European Union. We travel all throughout
the world. I was at the Human Rights
Council in Geneva. We were trying to exhaust all
available diplomatic resources to get this resolved because
we’re not advocating more military intervention. We’re advocating saving
their lives. And our point is that what’s
happening in North Korea constitutes crimes
against humanity. By the legal definition,
it does. A lot of people ask me, what
makes North Korea different, or why we picked North Korea? And it’s not because I
happen to be Korean. And, in fact, I think that there
are lots of just and noble causes throughout the
world that are happening. We need to get ourselves
involved in Darfur. Its three, four years
too late. We’ve called it a genocide
for years and we haven’t done anything. Similar situations
are happening in eastern Europe, in Tibet. Throughout the world, there
are minorities being persecuted for no reason besides
their race, religion, or political views. And there are lots of crises. Katrina happened in
this country. We have epidemics here in this
country and South America. And the tsunami, you had saw
an outpouring of support. The difference between North
Korea and all of those situations is that nowhere have
I ever seen, and you can say I’m biased, so much of a
concentrated, incredible, institutionalized, deliberate
human rights violation as in North Korea. There’s not a tsunami that we
couldn’t predict, and then we try to react and we fail. It’s not a failed state when
there’s a civil war and two warlords are fighting
for power. It’s not a disease that rampages
throughout society, and the government’s too
weak to stop it. It’s deliberate. They don’t need to build these
concentration camps. They don’t need to publicly
execute citizens. They have enough food
to feed the people. They got huge amounts
of aid from all countries in the world. They do not get that
food to the people. It’s a deliberate, slow
motion death. It’s deliberately wiping out
their own population for political reasons and
to stay in power. And that is what makes North
Korea so different from everything else. It’s entirely 100% man-made. And as a result, if man doesn’t
do something to stop it, I think it’s on our
conscious more than a tsunami would be or a tornado or an
earthquake or a disease that we could not necessarily
stop altogether. North Korea does not need to
be doing this in any way. Even strategically, there’s no
real justification for these human rights violations. But so long as the rest of the
world doesn’t say anything about it, so long as the United
States and China and the European Union and the UN
never bring it up, they will continue to do this. And, basically, we will
not get in there until they’ve all died. And that’s just the fact
of the matter. So we continue to do briefings
all over the world. We do policy objectives where we
push different governments to take refugees in, to talk
to the North Koreans about human rights, to help refugees
resettle and speak out in public. In terms of awareness, we’ve
had about 100 chapters throughout the world as
of last November. We do a lot of mainstream
media outreach. We’re working on, for example,
Hollywood, that does movies on North Korea, push them to make
sure they include an element on human rights. We try to get it out there in a
common culture so people are talking about it. And in terms of action, as I
mentioned before we have something called Project Safe
Haven, which is a network of several dozen underground
shelters in China. These are run by 20, 30 year old
something Americans mostly that go in there, sneak in
basically, and they work in the underground hiding
refugees. And sometimes you have to move
them from shelter to shelter. For example, last year we had
a teenage boy, two of them actually, that were on a train
going to a different shelter because they have to move so
they don’t arouse suspicion. The conductor asked them
for their IDs. They didn’t have them. And they got sent back
to North Korea. So it’s very, very dangerous. We also have projects that feed
North Korean children inside North Korea. We feed about 500 a month,
obviously without the government knowing that
it’s us doing it. And we also have something where
there’s about 15,000 North Korean forced laborers
outside of North Korea, in democracies actually,
in some of them. We have about 11,000
currently in– I’m sorry, 3,000 currently
in Russia. North Korea owes a huge amount
of debt to Russia, but it doesn’t have anything
to pay it back with. So what they did is they
actually sent 3,000 slave laborers to Siberia to cut
timber all day long. And they’re guarded by
North Korean guards. It’s essentially a North
Korean prison camp colony in Russia. And Russia is a country
that the US deals with all the time. Similar things are happening
in China, Mongolia, Libya, Madagascar, the Czech Republic,
and Poland. There’s 15,000 of
these workers. And countries like the Czech
Republic and Poland are democracies and members
of the EU. In fact, we went to the Czech
Republic, went on site to find these camps. They interviewed the girls. Actually, there were about
372 girls from 18 to 22. We interviewed them, talked
to them about their circumstances. They could not leave
the embassy. At night they went to
their group housing. They did not get paid. The pay that they received went
straight to the embassy. Essentially, they’re slaves. Essentially. And they’re in countries that we
have good relations with as the United States. So we’ve talked to them. And as of last May, they
actually shut that down. There are another 15,000
throughout the world that are waiting for somebody to
do something about. And finally, we actually
actively run underground railroad operations, myself
included, where we will take a group of refugees that’s ready
and wanting to leave the country to go to South Korea
or the United States or anywhere else. Obviously, they have to be at
a mental state where they’re ready to do so. But if they are and if we think
we can do it without too much risk– there’s always risk,
but without too much– we go on an operation
and we try to get them out of the country. That’s what we did in October. And we succeeded in bringing the
first three North Korean orphans ever into
this country. They’re now enrolled in American
public high schools. One of them is taking hip hop
classes at the Y. I mean, their lives are completely,
completely different, completely different. And that shows, honestly, how
easy it is to make change, because we’re not especially
trained. We don’t have $1 million
behind us. We’re not agents of
any government. We’re just amateur grassroots
people that are doing this. But it’s managed
to save lives. And that’s one of the points
that I wanted to stress today, is that we need to band
around to do this. Similarly, last December we
had the same attempt where there were six North Korean
refugees that we were trying to get out. And it did not work. It was very effective. We got very far. And at one point– you know in
movies where you rob a bank and it goes, [DRRRING], and then the swat cars pull up
and there’s 300 soldiers and guards and everyone? That’s literally
what happened. And three of my activists,
including myself and six of our refugees, all got
arrested and were put in Chinese prison. This isn’t to brag about
that I’ve done time, and we’re hard core. More so than that, it’s the
fact that the Chinese government criminalizes helping
these refugees, which is a violation of international
law. And frankly, just conscience. It’s just wrong to
be doing this. And these refugees are sent back
by hundreds or 200, 300 a week into North Korea where they
face, basically, certain torture and death. The refugees that were caught
with us in December are actually still in
prison today. We were released for reasons
that are still unclear to us. Other activists that have done
the same work, even if they’re American citizens, are still
in Chinese prisons. Several of them were tortured. One was released last
Thanksgiving with syringe marks all over both arms. And
he still experiences severe hallucinations at night
when he’s sleeping. He thinks he’s back in prison
and starts punching his family members trying to escape. This is a travesty. It’s an atrocity. And it’s going along for
too long without the world paying attention. And if you have any questions
about that, we can get into that later. But I’m going to wrap up
this presentation. A lot of people say, why
are you hurrying this? Why are you trying so hard
to make this happen? And my parents, in particular,
say this. Why don’t you finish going to
school, getting a family, making a lot of money,
and then do something for the cause? And Langston Hughes once wrote,
“I tire so of hearing people say, let things
take their course. Tomorrow is another day. I do not need my freedom
when I’m dead. I cannot live on tomorrow’s
bread.” This is one of the protests that
we’ve done outside of the South Korean UN Mission. This is a contrast between the
celebration and tears over South Korea not making it to the
quarterfinals of the last World Cup in Germany, and the
23 million North Korean that are suffering as a result
of general apathy. And a lot of people
say, why are you talking about human rights? You’re working against peace. You’re going to cause war. You’re going to cause
destabilization. And there’s a quote by
the Dalai Lama that addresses this perfectly. It says, “Peace in the sense
of the absence of war is of little value to someone who is
dying of hunger or cold. It will not remove the pain
of torture inflicted on a prisoner of conscience. It does not comfort those who
have lost their loved ones in floods caused by senseless
deforestation. And peace can only exist where
human rights are respected, where the people are fed, and
where individuals and nations are free.” And these are diplomats
walking right by our demonstrations into
their offices. Finally, “As long as one
dissident is in prison, our freedom will not be true. As long as one child is hungry,
our life will be filled with anguish and shame. What all these victims need
above all is to know that they are not alone, that we are not
forgetting them, that when their voices are stifled we
shall lend them ours, and that while their freedom depends
on ours the quality of our freedom depends on theirs. Our lives no longer belong
to us alone. They belong to all those who
need us desperately.” This is Elie Wiesel. He’s actually a Nobel prize
winning author. That guy right there. He is a survivor of
Auschwitz camp. He’s a Holocaust survivor,
very well-known. He’s actually based
out in New York. And his argument
is very clear. We are not truly free until
everybody is free. And the people that are not free
need to know that we are doing something for them. I know this firsthand
after what I experienced in December. Being in the prison sucks,
especially a Chinese prison. But knowing the fact that people
outside knew I was in there and that they were doing
something for me, even if it would take 20, 30 years, the
fact that they were thinking about it kept me
going, frankly. And I was’t in there
for very long. I was in there for 10 days,
but it wasn’t years. Now, there are defectors and
refugees and activists that’ve been there for decades, people
that have been born and raised in a concentration camp. These people are assigned
numbers, are taken away of their names, and they’re told
that they’re not even human, that they’re dogs, that if you
die today no one will notice. Now, if you’re born or raised
in that society– it’s an atrocity that we have
to account for, that we have to answer for. Finally, there’s
one last story. And I’m very fond of quotes. I’m sorry for doing
this too long. But you’re all familiar with
the Good Samaritan story. It’s in the Bible. It’s part of, I guess,
Judeo-Christian culture, where there’s a guy that’s basically
beaten up and lying on the side of the road. And a priest and a Levite walk
by him, and just look at him and keep going. They don’t bother to help him. And then a Good Samaritan– a Samaritan, he was on the
marginalized part of society– stopped to help him, and washed
him up, gave him a bath, gave him lotion,
healing creams, and sent him on his way. And there was a point to that
parable was that you should help your neighbor. Martin Luther King talked
about this parable, but articulated it a little
bit differently. And I think it applies here. He said, “And you know, it’s
possible that the priest and the Levite looked over that man
on the ground and wondered if the robbers were
still around. Or it’s possible that they
felt that the man on the ground was merely faking. And he was acting like he had
been robbed and hurt in order to seize them over there, and
lure then over for a quick and easy seizure. And so the first question the
Levite asked was, ‘if I stop to help this man, what
will happen to me?'” And that’s a question many
of us ask in the world. If I take my time out for this
cause, whether it’s North Korea or Darfur or after school
education, if I do this what will happen to my
job, my time, my personal health, my fitness? What will happen? “But then the Good Samaritan
came by. And he reversed the question. If I do not stop to help this
man, what will happen to him?” And that’s, I think, it’s a
fundamental difference in how we can think about these
situations that will make us actually do a little bit more. The situation in North Korea,
I have no doubt one day that these concentration camps
will be liberated. I have no doubt one day that
North and South Korea may reunify, that we’ll be able
to take tourist trips. Some of us already have. But
wider scale, free access tourist trips to North Korea,
meet North Koreans, have them come over, work here,
go to local schools. I know that will
happen one day. My question is, how many
people will die before we get there? And the direct answer to that is
not when Kim Jong Il gives up, is not when the next US
president presses the North Koreans or the Chinese. The answer to that is when we,
as a people, as a country, as a culture, stand up and
do something about it. And our organization is
incredibly small. Right now, I have
10 full-timers. For three years, I had
two full-timers. Those 10 actually joined on,
I think, two months ago. And nobody gets paid. Everybody works pro bono. We have no formal training
whatsoever. But we’ve been able to save
countless lives of refugees. We’ve been able to accomplish
a lot diplomatically just because we’re talking about it,
because nobody else is. And in a democracy like this
one that’s all you need, is voices and constituents saying,
we care about this. But until that happens, these
people will continue to be in this situation. And every man is guilty of all
the good that he didn’t do. Finally, I’m going to show– I’m sorry. This is the group of
the orphan boy that I mentioned earlier. That’s clearly me. And my mom said, why
do you even bother? That looks like you. But these are three North Korean
orphans that are 14, 16, and 17 years old. They are the first ones to come
out of North Korea to this country. This one in the middle, when he
was 12 years old he woke up and his mother had
just disappeared. His father had already passed
away, actually of starvation. His mother just disappeared
one morning. About a couple weeks later, his
sister disappeared and all of a sudden he was homeless. His neighbor sold his house. And he was homeless in the
streets of North Korea for three years, just walking around
selling firewood that he would get on the street. Then one day he said,
you know what? Forget this. I’m going to cross
over into China. Somehow, as a 15 year old, he
crossed over into China, ended up in our shelters. And last October actually, we
had an underground mission where we were hiding from the
police, and we actually brought him out. And now he’s here. These are success stories. These are lives that are
fundamentally changed. And for him, he can do anything
with his life. He can be the next Martin
Luther King. He can be a teacher. He can raise his own family. His life is fundamentally
changed forever. There are 400,000 more of him
hiding in the underground in China with no one to speak
out on their behalf. If you’re interested in learning
more about what we do, our organization website is Our blog is If you have personal
questions, you can bring up and ask. I have business cards as well. But essentially what we’re
asking is not for you to just know about the situation. There’s going to be a time five,
10, 20 years later when your kids will come home from
school, or your grandkids, and say, mom and dad, did
you know about this? We just spent a chapter learning
about the North Korean human rights crisis. What did you do? And at that point, we won’t have
the excuse about saying that we didn’t know what
happened because you just heard me blab on about
it for 40 minutes. And the excuse of ignorance
will not be there anymore. We have satellite pictures. We have witness testimonies. And the excuse of nobody asked
me to do anything won’t be there either because I’m asking
you now to please help. At that point I think as a
society, as a culture, as a world, we’ll have some
accounting to do because this is a failure of humanity. This really is. It’s a situation where human
beings do not need to die. But they are in huge numbers,
in huge numbers. Even if it was one person dying
unjustly, I think it warrants our intervention. But when it’s 24 million
suffering, when it’s 500,000 in prison camps, and when it’s
hundreds of thousands of refugees being sold on the
black market, I think it warrants our immediate attention
and action, whether it’s politically convenient
or not. Whether we alienate China and
our business interests or the United States and its
administration and stability, it does not matter. Ethically, morally, and
consciously, in terms of our conscience, this is the right
thing to do, is to do something for these people. To close with, I’m going to show
a short video clip about two minutes long of our
underground shelters in China so you can get a visual of
what we mean when we talk about shelters in
the underground. All the people in this footage
are actually still there in the underground in China. We have not yet been able
to get them out. And personally, I am banned from
China for five years, so our underground operations are
on hold for a little while. Can we turn up the
sound please? Thanks. [VIDEO PLAYBACK] ADRIAN E. HONG: If you’d like to
get involved in helping out with the situation, please
again check the website,, and sign up for
the Listserv. We do have times where we need, literally,
massed manpower for petitions, advocacy work, and
things of that nature. Specific things we need, nobody
in the office gets paid and that’s OK. The funding goes directly
to our shelters. But you’d be surprised how
little we get a month. It’s literally a couple grand
a month that funds 50 underground shelters,
underground operations, briefings with different
governments, all of that. Which means a little bit more
money can make a huge difference and can literally
save lives. I had a refugee come to me, and
he was about 30 years old. He was very sheepishly looking
at me the whole time like he wanted to say something
and he didn’t. And I asked someone else
with him, does he want to ask me something? And he said, yes. He said, he cannot see. He cannot cross the street
because he’s almost blind, that he wants to know if I
can get him some glasses. So I was like, of course
I’ll get him glasses. I was thinking LensCrafters,
$70. He says, it’ll cost $4. For years, he could not walk
across the street properly without an escort because he
couldn’t see, because his eyesight was so bad because
of a lack of $4. And that’s a situation
that they’re in. And the refugees that I showed
you in their pictures, 14, 16 years old, I asked them– after
I got arrested and the six refugees are still in
prison, obviously I had a moral crisis where I was
thinking, is the right thing to do? Six people are now in prison
because of this. And I asked them, what if
you had gotten caught while trying to escape? How would you have felt? Would you have been upset? Would you have regretted it? And he said, one day in
America is more than a lifetime in Korea, is more than
North Korea, is more than years in China. He said that at any time they
would have a little bit of fun and start laughing, they would
all of a sudden have to stop themselves for fear of getting
reported by the neighbors. That they could not get a good
night’s sleep because they would wake up with nightmares
that Chinese guards had come in to arrest them, that’s the
reality for these people. In terms of things we need,
if it’s in your heart to donate, you can. If you’d like to help out
an advocacy, you can. Even specifically with Google,
about 80%, 90% of these concentration camps are just
blurs on Google Earth. We cannot see them. And I know that recently in
the news there’s been announcements of partnerships
with nonprofits where you get higher resolution pictures,
satellite imagery, for some of these sites. For example, in Darfur with
the Holocaust museum. Those are some things we need
because we can say, go to this location on Google Earth. But there’s nothing there. You can’t see anything. And that’s a huge tool to
promote awareness and engagement from the
grassroots. There are lots of specific
things like that if you have questions. But I know we’re short for time,
so maybe we’ll take one or two questions. Yeah, one or two questions and
then we’ll break for lunch. Does anybody have any
questions or– yes? AUDIENCE: Why isn’t this a
bigger deal in South Korea? Why isn’t there just
mass uproar? ADRIAN E. HONG: Good question. The question is, why
it this not– is this mike on? Why is this not a bigger
deal in South Korea? Why is there no national
uproar? The easiest answer for that is
that South Korea likes its economy as it is. It went through some hardship
in the ’60s and ’70s. It had the IMF crisis
in the ’90s. And now they’re actually
the 10th largest economy in the world. And their reasoning is if we
harass North Korea about human rights, they will destabilize,
they will declare war, they might attack us. Or even if they collapsed, their
refugees will come to South Korea and become basically
a huge welfare population. The argument is entirely based
on economy and on stability. That’s what it is. You would think that South
Koreans would be the most active given the fact that
they’re literally blood brothers and sisters,
literally. In fact, some of them came from
North Korea in the ’60s and immigrated here,
or to South Korea. But the South Korean government
for the last 15 years has clamped down on
information to where, believe it or not, after sitting through
this you now know more than average South Korean grad
students on this issue. In fact, we had a lecture at the
Center for International Studies in South Korea and
they didn’t know about concentration camps happening
15 minutes north of them. So that’s the situation
that the South Korean people are in as well. So I think it’s up to the
grassroots everywhere else that know about this to
do something about it. Any other questions? OK. Well then, Christine? Thanks. [APPLAUSE]

Author Since: Mar 11, 2019

  1. dude… civil problems in north korea are as neglected as those in congo. america runs on self interest. so whats your argument?

  2. I hope this bloody dictatorship ends soon:

    (Asia New's ) SEOUL, Jan. 15 .2009 . . – North Korean leader Kim Jong-il has recently designated his third son, Kim Jong-un, as his successor and delivered a directive on the nomination to the Workers' Party leadership…-

  3. Shifting focus does not make a good excuse to defend attrocities whatsoever.

    That's a strawman. What the US and UK have done in Iraq does not excuse the literal genocide in the worst dictatorship on this planet. I remember living in Belfast during the 7/7, and most locals just shud their heads having experienced more secterian violenc and bombings than any other country in Europe the last 60 years.

  4. NK is not "communism". It's a death cult evolved around one fuhrer.

    Sort of like the GOP nutcases in the US worshipping Bush in their fundie Jesus Camps to be brainwashed. I think the base of your party is about as smart as any mouthpiece of Juche. I am Europpean living with a better system than the corporate welfare system as yours. Stop your partisan BS and start to think with an ounce of common sense!

  5. North Korea is well clear example of isolation, suppression, both in system and psychologically, which more or less we can all relate

  6. How did you smuggle the North Koreans out of China and into the US? That doesnt seem easy!
    Very clever video!, Thanks!

  7. I guess the united states feels that the NK's will just have to out last the regime and then they will have there freedom. thats just ridiculous and now that "lil kim" has launched his "dong" missile the world can no longer sit back and watch! what ever happened to the world's couragous line of "never again" after nazi death camps. oh well I guess it's back to "Wir wussten nicht"

  8. Its funny to see some people talking about human rights but in their own countries had a lot of unemployed and homeless people.

  9. What is it with you guys? We don't want to be enemies with you, yet you insist on militarism and asserting yourselves so forwardly. Yes, we get it. The United States has always been an Imperialist power. Bragging about shooting up missiles makes you no better. The only answer to this argument is a peaceful resolution, which will only come when both countries can admit their faults.

  10. South Korea is prospering. There is an interest in promoting more current social values. There won't be any tragedy as long as South Korea reminds itself of this. Many countries that have helped South Korea get to this point would be glad to keep the seeds of change In S. Korea germinating in the soil. If this includes keeping North Korea out of S. Korea, then I think western nations will see that it will be done.

  11. Pyung Yang, capital of N.Korea used to be called as " The Jerusalem of the East", where all riligions were in prosperity; But N.Korean Stalinists exterminated whole religions including Chrisitianity; Many Korean Chritians were brutally exterminated by damned Korean Marx-Lenin and Stalinists!! Liberate gulags in the Stalinist state!!!

  12. Citzens or Criminals??

    BTW you never saw a prison of my country or maybe you never saw a slum or some "forget cities" here.

  13. Man this guy is amazing….it is great to see, that everyone can make a difference and help make a better world.

  14. onthecuttingedge2005: When DPRK played the nuclear card, even if apparently it doesn't have a nuclear capability, yet!, the world sit up and tried to appease DPRK thru incentives. That failed. Now that DPRK has the bomb, the world will be faced with stronger intransigence and never would DPRK agree to de-nuclearize itself, at any price, at any concession. What to do with a buzzing fly? Swat it down, that's what. One surgical precision strike militarily will do what talks can't achieve.

  15. Es una vertadera barbaritat el que ocurreix a Corea del Nord, que llàstima que hi haja règims semblant al món. Espere que algún dia la humanitat es pose d'acord i es resoeten uns a altres.

  16. ohww..if i only have billions of money.. i would not part my self but give it to like them who are in need.. is this crisis happened cuz of the government system? :(.. i feel sorry for the children..they are too young to experience what had happened to them:(

  17. North Korea is definately not an atheist state. It's true it's not christian, muslim or jewish yes, but the Cult of Kim Jong-il is as much a religion as christianity, not to mention the fact that there are thousands of hindus, buddhists and other religious people there.

  18. "Human Right" should not be used as political tool, but taken seriously. This means life of another person is as important as yours. You cannot use military force to run over lives of innocent civilians. "Human Right" is for everyone not just yours and not just for your "National Interest" 1st policy. "Human Rights" are to be respected by others, but this means "you" too. Everybody has alot of work to do in their own country…

  19. North Korea is really a hell on earth. But let's not forget how it's like in Congo, and the Rwandian genocide.

  20. @melonbarmonster The reason that the North Korean regime is evil is not because it is not religious in nature. North Korea don't do anything in the name of atheism.

  21. @melonbarmonster Very typical of religious people like yourself to suggest that atheist have no morals. Nothing could be further from the truth. Don't you think humans are smart enough to know what's morally right for them? I mean we can go to the moon and create so many amazing things…What's good for me is probably good for you and vice versa.

  22. @melonbarmonster Stalin was an atheist, as was Mao Zedong, and I think, Pol Pot. Hitler however was a catholic (read Mein Kampf). There has been genocide in both Rwanda and Congo with several million deaths by non-atheists. But atheism or not is not the point. None of the countries above did any of the atrocities in the name of ___fill in the blank.

    Interestingly 0.2% of the american prison population are atheists, 10% of the nation as a whole are atheists.

  23. @ilililhy If god is all benevolent there would not be a place like hell and no one would be born with sin. That alone is enough to reject the whole concept of the christian god. The whole idea of an omnipotent one being interested in guys like you and me is pretty pathetic. It would be as if I took a keen interest in a specific ant in a forest. And why would he set himself up as a king and ruler over his own creation and create a "rival" (the devil). It just doesn't make any sense.

  24. @melonbarmonster They are not meaningless? With an atheistic/agnostic world-view it is possible to look at the world with a rational eye. It's because of secularism that mankind has progressed so far, not religion! Look at the world after the ~18th century when the AGE OF REASON begun. Then compare how it was like before that,.

  25. @melonbarmonster That's because the North Korean REGIME sees any non governmental organisation as a THREAT against the survival of the regime. Basically all communist dictatorships are about POWER for the elite, not the well being of the people. Kim Jong Il, a dictator would not want to compete with a "god" for attention, so they abolished religion. It's really that simple. Kim Jong Il wants absolute power, but with churches or other organizations his stranglehold over the country would be less.

  26. You should go to my country, Sweden, the most democratic country in the world. With a much lower crime rate than a "religious" country like the US. Btw we have the highest GDP growth right now in western Europe.

  27. @melonbarmonster You clearly demonstrate that you have no arguments that hold water. What has football have to do with anything…. Perhaps if Kim Jong Il had been indoctrinated and scared into believing there is a hell he would not have become as evil. Atheism is simply the abscence of any belief in a deity and can in itself not be harmful. Only if people turn it into something bad. There's no logical pathway for instance that atheists would become suicide bombers, but with religion there is.

  28. @melonbarmonster Really? What about ABBA and recently the bestseller books by Stieg Larsson? What you're saying is complete nonsense. What do South American and Asian countries do better than Sweden does?

  29. @melonbarmonster
    just ignorant…
    let me guess. Your christian, your christian friends are trying to help those poor NK civilians from the "atheist" dictators??? pull your head out of your ass and watch the video again…
    Pretty sure Bush is a christian and he didn't do anything about it.
    there are good and bad people from every religion. You Christians need to take a note from your own book and stop judging people.
    Why did you have to make it all about religion.
    melonbarmonster = tool

  30. lol forget it america wont do nothing to save them koreans the U,N, will acctualy do something to help them lol america will set on its fat ass and launch nukes if nessciary

  31. @melonbarmonster lol i dont see a difference in supporting israel and supporting north korea they both kill innocent people on different sides of the border. so why dont u go to white house and try out ur democratic rights in USA. and see if people gives a fuck whether your voice is heard.

  32. @melonbarmonster What about the SK government? US government? the UN? and the mighty world media. You believe that they don't know about this?

  33. @melonbarmonster Oh really well since I'm an Atheist I guess I should have been informed of this conspiracy of destroying the already brainwashed North Korean people who thank their entire being to a dead "Eternal" leader God. I actually want to help them, but do you even think that is possible if I expose myself as an American to them which they're training to kill at any moments notice?

  34. It is time for those in power throughout the world to understand “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness” are part of the Laws of Nature transcending any civil- or natural-law and they apply, not only to humans, but to all life and social systems. See:

  35. @MyDoominateR Did you watch the clip? If so, you apparently don't get that north koreans are completely cut off. They don't know ANYTHING about the outside world. Also, they have to fight to survive daily, and they live under a regime which punished heavily even at the slightest hint of dissent.
    People in North Korea need help.Whether you'd rather ignore it for stability and growth like most countries are doing, that is your choice.But it is the wrong one.We are responsible.A matter of humanity.

  36. @MyDoominateR Actually, there is plenty that can be done. North Korea relies heavily on aid and trade, so if the countries of power sat down with North Korea stating they would cease to assist unless the human rights violations stop, then North Korea might actually be forced to fix some of the many problems.

    Your comments communicate a lack of empathy for North Koreans. I really don't understand how anyone can watch this, and still not feel they need assistance.

  37. @AzureFlameElk Actually, people are growing desperate and starting to push back a little, but the conditions are miserable. To see a bit of both, check the video on . But still, the biggest problem is governments ignoring the issue.

  38. @dragonbreathstinks And there should be an international criminal court for this sort of thing…let's see who isn't a part of it. hmmm…..

  39. @AzureFlameElk Half the people are famished…bring'em food and see them not giving a fuck who you are.
    Also, the only reason the people don't fight their government is because any absurd small amount of dissent OR lack of *enthusiasm* following the rule throws entire families into prison camps.

    Again, if you watched the video?

  40. @AzureFlameElk Completely ridiculous comparison. Also, the Japanese kept fighting because that's part of their culture to never accept defeat(honor based system); nothing to do with brainwash.

  41. @Mike10four If I were you, before touting the ideals in your constitution for others, I'd work to defend it at home.
    Your government can be quite shady and ambiguous with the law these days.

  42. @skydark You are absolutely correct about the US no longer following its Constitution. That was not my point. My comment referenced the US Declaration of Independence not the Constitution. Jefferson’s profound claim of our unalienable Rights being part of the Laws of Nature applies to all humans and to all life. Please see my channel video for the proof.

  43. @AzureFlameElk "Japanese culture of dying for your emperor is equally indoctrinated."

    If you accept this, then you'll have to accept that most(if not all) forms of patriotism are a result of indoctrination. In which case, culture itself proves to be a form of indoctrination. But that would render these discussions useless.

    The most important aspect is that given the fact that more than half of the population is malnourished,indoctrinated beliefs would quickly be superseded by survival needs.

  44. @iTzMcKenzie4000 No, they wouldn't. Thing about dictators: they can't live anywhere else, and they don't want their country nuked back.

  45. This is terrifying. Worse is that the countries next to them are sort of supporting/ignoring the ideas in order to remain having good relations to it.

  46. Actually,the US just announced this morning a "breakthrough" with North Korea in their peace talks.But I don't expect this to last.North Korea promised to give up its nukes,allow nuclear inspection and the United States will give them 240 metric tons of food,which doesn't make sense b/c Kim Jung Un will keep the food for himself.
    Join the Twitter conversation

  47. Now do you see why election in South Korea is so important. It's not, "They are all same crooks," or "Let's elect the progressives who would keep the good relations with North Korea." There are no liberals in South Korea, just brainwashed North Korean regime supporters who would want to bring all of Korea under the evil Kim Jong Eun regime. As flawed as Lee Myong Bak gov't. may be, at least it is not giving billions to North Korea to build nukes and missiles to kill like Noh Moo Hyun gov"t.

  48. I think it's right that LINK needs more of an agenda. There has to be some way to end this completely, like a reunification.

  49. We actually do, it's called the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights. But they are hard to enforce and it is up to each individual country to follow them

  50. How could you enforce it without stripping every nation of its military? A single global military would only lead to global totalitarianism…….

  51. Go find me the post where I claim I pray to anyone. LOL. Maybe you should get an education and read some books before you go around espousing atheism as a cogent belief. Stupidity looks bad regardless of which position you hold.

  52. The materialistic world can be proven and demonstrated. Physical laws are demonstrably true, things made by science can be shown to work. Big difference there mate between a materialistic/scientific vs. a baseless religious worldview.

  53. All the so called "atheist states" that you referred to had elaborate personality cults, making them far more religious than secular. Pol Pot, Mao Zedong, Stalin, Kim Il Sung all have that in common. Hitler was a roman catholic. Countries with modern secular values like the scandinavian countries and Japan are peaceful and prosperous (ok, Japan has stagnated somewhat).

  54. I've often been forced to stay awake at night, brooding upon this very delicate problem.
    We'll join the right side of the inevitable revolution and die boatloads and truckloads until our comrades are finally free. In the meantime, we'll drop pamphlets with information in a kind of 'airborne newspaper'. See 'pshychological warfare' on Wikipedia.

  55. Of course, but how do you punish things like the government of North Korea when they'll fodder their frontlines with an almost inexhaustible reserve of brainwashed slaves?

    It has been proven far too often that armies are willing to fight for those that will do them a (worse) world of evil if they don't.

  56. Well, sadly the closest we have to that is the UN, but then again the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights isn't required by law. How ever some countries such as EU and North American as well as commonwealth countries take the document very seriously and make it law, and punish severely the individuals who violate it. But then again you need honest countries, because they will do it, but not countries where there is no democratic rights.

  57. Yeah, and something like worker rights… but you think companies all over the world want worker rights for chinese factory workers? Take Apple for example. One of the most profitable (non energy) companies in the world and they still use slave labor.

  58. You would have had difficulty trying to get that idea across to the Head of State in my country when I was born in 1941. I was born in National Socialist Germany! You could have tried to get it across to our Allied Partner, Josef Stalin!!? Or the Wind Bag Churchill from England who resented other Leaders for doing what his country did, i.e. Northern Ireland. the Southern tip of Spain, Islas Malvinas an Argentinian Island to mention but a few places where they subjugated the native population.

  59. It really wasn't a story. It was a very condensed synopsis of some verifiable historical facts. But anyway it is all "water under the Bridge" now. May there be peace on Earth soon.

  60. Your not going to change those sick minds in N. Korea that run the country! They can only be stopped by brut force!

  61. easy for you to say when you have them. If you knew what it was like living in a place like North Korea then you would have a very different point of view

  62. Why does Kim have to be so selfish to do that to other humans? why cant he just let everyone get on with their lives and just be kind

Related Post