Friday, October 5, 2012

'Asia's Underground Railroad'

A scholar and author credits the efforts of many brave souls for the fact that a growing number of North Koreans have been able to escape the brutal dictatorship and reach sanctuary in South Korea and even the United States.

Melanie Kirkpatrick, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, has done extensive research on what has become the modern-day version of the Underground Railroad.

"North Korea is the world's most repressive state. It is truly hell on earth," she asserts. "The Kim family regime controls every aspect of a person's life, even whether or not they eat. Food is distributed by the state, and the elites get to eat, and the ordinary people sometimes don't."
Consequently, desperate North Koreans have made their way into China, hoping to connect to an underground railroad to the West.

"This underground railroad was set up about 12 or so years ago. And it is run by two groups of people: by brokers who are in it for the money, and then more importantly and perhaps more effectively, by humanitarians -- mostly Christians who are in it to serve God," the author details.
Kirkpatrick estimates that 24,000 North Koreans have made it to safety in South Korea since 1953, and more than half have gotten there in the past ten years. A core group of North Korean refugees now live in South Korea.


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