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HOW 13 NORTH KOREANS DEFECTED FROM CHINA

What happens with their families?


Quite often, North Korean citizens try to defect from the rogue nation, many dying in the process. Hundreds are forcibly returned by Chinese authorities, and then when they are returned to North Korea, they are sent to forced labor camps.

Earlier this year, there was a mass defection, but this time it was a little different. The defectors did not escape from North Korea, but they escaped from their jobs in China. 13 North Koreans defected to South Korea from the restaurant they were working in in Ningbo, China.

The truth of the matter is that there is little to no work in North Korea. And with increasingly harsh sanctions, there is little money coming into the rogue nation, so they send their citizens abroad to work, and their wages are controlled by the state. A very common instance of this are the North Korean restaurants that can be found in a dozen countries across the globe, with 130 locations. These restaurants bring in millions of dollars per year, which helps the regime fund itself, and helps to keep them in power.

This defection of 13 people from Ningbo has been one of the largest defections for North Korea, and certainly the largest during the reign of Kim Jong-un.

This defection is especially bad because it reportedly took 2-3 days to arrange, so that means that China was likely involved, which if true would be a major blow to the regime. In fact, North Korea has raised the potential for relations to deteriorate. This would be a serious problem for Kim Jong-un, being snubbed like that from one of his only allies left.

 

 

What stops people from defecting?

North Korea has a policy called the “three generations punishment”. This is that anyone caught trying to defect is sent to a forced labor camp, usually Kaechon Internment Camp, along with their entire family. The next two generations of the family may be born or die there in the camp. So even if you defect, they will likely imprison your family, as a way to keep citizens abroad from defecting.

The camp can be found here, across the river from the Pin on Camp 18, another prison that is for political prisoners.

Also, take a look of a video that shows some of the horrors from the prison camps. A former camp prisoner drew some pictures about life in the prison, and they are truly horrible

 

What can you do?

Honestly, due to the alienated nature of the country of North Korea, the only way to defeat them is economically. Every cent that they receive will go directly to fund their military exploits, so the only way to win is to make sure that they can’t fund their military. This requires efforts from both nations and citizens.

 

Citizens

Nations

 

Image: Flickr Uri Tours