◆ February 11, 2008, Tumen, China: The dead body of what appears to be a North Korean refugee is found in the middle of the Duman (or Tumen) River. It lies in the frozen shallows perhaps 20 yards from Chinese border and 10 from that of N. Korean.
Feet wrapped in fabric without shoes, wearing a wide red skirt, the corpse was presumably a North Korean woman in her 30s. Jiang Wei from the border town said, "No one here is missing, and no Chinese person would cross a river to die."
The woman's left leg is half submerged in the mud, while the other lies on a rock. Part of her face is still in the ice. It seems she hit her head on a rock as she fell. Fingers reaching out from out of the water reveal her last struggle for life. It seems that her life had nowhere to go, even after death.
The woman, people speculated, must have spent days in the forest to avoid patrols on the river bank. At dead of night, tired and hungry, she must have stumbled on the rock in attempt to cross the river. North Korea does not admit there are refugees, and China cares only about its own people. She remained an un-person even in death.
Kim Young-chul, another North Korean refugee, sighs after watching the film. "You have to look for a shallow spot and break the ice if you cross the river in winter." Another refugee, Cho In-jik, adds, "Her companions must have taken her clothes and shoes to sell."
We named her Suni. May you have found a warm place at last.
By Park Jong-in, Lee Hark-joon