March 08, 2012 08:49
A North Korean woman documents her harrowing account of escaping from North Korea in her autobiography, which she has released in French.
"We were forced to endure harsh labor when we were sent back to North Korea after being captured in China," author Kim Eun-sun told reporters at the Korean Cultural Center in Paris on Tuesday (local time).
"My mother fell ill and we had no choice but to escape the North again or risk losing her under such harsh living conditions."
The autobiography, which was co-written with the Seoul correspondent for the French daily Le Figaro, Sebastien Falletti, is entitled "North Korea: The Nine-Year Escape from Hell."
The book records the 26-year-old and her mother's three attempts to flee the Stalinist state starting in 1998, and continuing on to their eventual arrival in South Korea in 2006. Her father went missing during their nine-year ordeal.
"In North Korea, even elementary school kids are forced to watch public executions in order to instill a sense of fear in them," said Kim, who visited Paris to mark the publication of her book. "You cannot have hopes or dreams in the North."
She shuddered as she recalled the conditions she had to suffer after being repatriated back to the North. "We had to experience things that were simply unbearable," she said. "We had to suffer humiliations that we couldn't even imagine being put through in China or in another country."
Kim said she decided to publish her story because she wanted to make more people aware of the atrocities taking place in the North.
"But students in South Korea are either not interested in North Korean defectors, or they have misconceptions about them," she said.
Kim enrolled at Seoul's Sogang University in 2009 and is majoring in Chinese studies and psychology. "I want to major in child psychology and find a job that has something to do with North Korea," she said.
- Copyright © Chosunilbo & Chosun.com