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Harrowing Journey of Yeonmi Park

November 12, 2015 - Author: steph - No Comments

Yeonmi Park is a South Korean citizen who was born on October 4, 1993, in Hyesan, North Korea. She works as a human rights activist and hails from a nuclear family made up of her father, mother, sister and herself. She has been great encouragement to most people by openly sharing her painful stories while in North Korea. According to the standards of North Korea during most of Parks’ childhood, their family was among the wealthy. Both her parents were earning a living. Her father was a civil servant who worked as part of the Workers’ Party at the town hall in Hyesan, and her mother was a North Korean Army nurse. Later on, Parks’ father moved to Pyongyang to seek for greener pastures. Here he started operations in metal smuggling that in turn led to his incarceration since the business was illegal. Park narrates saying that life changed after her fathers’ incarceration. They had to struggle to ensure they survived. When Parks’ father had a reunion with his family, he gave advice to the family to escape to China. Eunmi, Parks’ elder sister, escaped earlier to China without notifying the family. Park and her mother were smuggled by brokers who did the business of moving North Koreans to China. Parks’ father did not accompany the two to China because he was suffering from an ailment that he thought would slow down their movement. While in China they tried asking the traffickers about Eunmis’ whereabouts but all was in vain, so they concluded that she had passed away. In October 2007, Parks’ father was smuggled to China where the family was living secretly. Within a short period Parks’ father died and this added more pain to the family. Mourning him was a problem hence Park and her mother avoided it so as not to be discovered by the Chinese authorities. By good luck, Park and her mother found a shelter at the Qingdao port city that was led by South Koreans and Chinese missionaries. Evading the authorities’ attention was possible since the city had a large Korean population. In 2009, Park and her mother moved through Gobi Desert headed to Mongolia after Christians and human rights activists offering aid to them. It was a very difficult situation for these two when they arrived at the Mongolian border. Guards threatened to report them to the authorities for them to be deported back to China. The pair pledged to commit murder by stabbing themselves. They were able to persuade the guards through their actions. Therefore, they were left through. Later on in April the same year Park and her mother flew to Seoul after being sent to Ulan Bastor Airport by the authorities. Park narrates on BBC that on reaching South Korea they had difficulties in adjusting to the new life. Park and her mother secured job opportunities as waitresses and shop attendants, and this was able to sustain them. Park saw the need of continuing education and so she joined Dongguk University where she majored in criminal justice. In April 2014, Park and her mother reunited with Eunmi by the help of South Korean intelligence.

Categories: Human Rights Activist

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