Liberty in North Korea

What is LiNK (Steven Jung)

Steven Jung

I saw a flier on campus for a group that calls themselves LiNK.

LiNK stands for Liberty in North Korea. “We want to shift peoples views from the politics to the people of North Korea,” Michelle Sham said. Sham and her co-representative, Jade Maniscalco, are both on a trip all over the U.S. to inform people of the situation facing North Korean citizens.

I do believe that is a good idea because it shows the world what the people of that country think of our nation, not just their politicians.

LiNK is a human rights group directed at the problems North Korean people face in Asia.

“We travel in a van for 10 weeks to many schools, churches, or any public place that will let us do our talk,” Sham said. Sham and Maniscalco explained that LiNK also wants to help refugees who fled North Korea.

When I spoke to Sham she said, “That it is a crime to actually leave the country similar to the situation with Castro and Cuban citizens. People are afraid that if they leave their families will be punished … not just them.”

I began to watch the documentary “People’s Crisis” they were showing. In the documentary they had Hannah Song, President of the LiNK organization. She stated  that North Korea was about its people until Kim II Sung died. His son Kim Jong-il took over and that is when the military funding took over leaving citizens starving and poor.

Personally, I think Jong-il should have done what his father did; they may be communists but at least there was no poverty in their country.

The documentary gave some of the refugee’s own stories such as how Minsung, 18, was told by the Korean government that “the reason he was starving was because the government said that the U.S. was eating all the food.”

North Korea also has zero tolerance of political dissent. Some of the refugees leave because of religious or ethnic backgrounds and fear of persecution for those reasons.

As I look at our own nation, I feel we sometimes think some are intolerant because of racism or other conflicting ideals; but these people can go to a prison camp with their families for three generations to pay for their crimes.

North Korea is so intolerant that they will arrest your family and send them to prison with you because they do not like your ideals. This is why they flee the country and try to find refuge somewhere else.

China does not help; in fact they send them back to be persecuted for leaving the country. LiNK has not only tried to spread awareness but has actually in their documentary taken steps to help with a current-day underground railroad.

This railroad helps refugees escape to South Korea or to the U.S. but it is an 800 mile trek for the refugees.

“70 to 90 percent of the female refugees that are caught in China are trafficked or sold to brothels, karaoke bars, sex hotlines, etc.” This is seriously wrong on so many levels!

LiNK has not only helped raise awareness, but has also escorted the refugees to their safe house in southern Asia. I am disgusted that China turns refugees away as well. They only turn them away as illegal immigrants because they don’t want to encourage refugees to go there.

LiNK is only going to public places to try and seek recruits that are interested in human rights. I would like to see more people that are involved in human rights groups assisting them.

Just because you do not join does not make you look like a bad person in my eyes; but if you at least hear them out then I do believe it is a nice gesture. If you do end up joining the organization then you have my respect because I do believe it is for a noble cause.


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