tv A North Korean Girls Journey to Freedom CSPAN June 12, 2018 12:55am-1:24am EDT
were showing you part of her speech earlier and we had to break away to show that latest handshake between the president and the north korean leader. we will resume that. she discusses what it is like to grow up in north korea and leaving that country at the age of 13. she put it in a new book, "in order to live: a north korean girls journey to free" we will breakaway as we get more pictures and events from singapore. you for coming to tonight's event. please welcome ms. park. [applause] park: [inaudible] thank you so much.
i am on it to be here. -- honored to be here. you have this [indiscernible] you never knewng before. i would like to tell you today about the people. i will not talk about politics. i will talk about how strong kim jong-un's regime he has and [inaudible] for 70just like us years. i was remembering my life in north korea.
was a prisoner emotionally. there are two different [inaudible] one is the dictatorship. you're not allowed to wear in rings. you are not allowed to wear jeans. you are not allowed to go to [indiscernible] and not allowed to watch movies. you are not allowed to listen to music. one channel and it is about how great the regime is. that is emotional dictatorship. he controls emotions in that country. they teach us they are gods. there's something my mom told me. the birds in mice can hear you. i believed.
and i thought he could hear my thoughts. and punish my mind me if i think of him badly. i was not allowed to think for myself. i did not know about independent thinking or critical thinking was. that is something i never knew and never allowed to know. of i would be in you.place in front of there is another difference. when i was in north korea, i was living [indiscernible] what [inaudible] and i believed what the schoolteacher told me. they never told me about africa or canada or australia. they told me they were enemies.
they made it very clear and simple. the other 1 -- [inaudible] they had [inaudible] the blood of the people and they are monsters. and blue all big nose eyes people were looking around. there is so much diversity in this country. math at schools and the math problems like this. that was my question and you can
see me on here today. and front of my enemies. you never know, it is life, you never really know. execution, poverty, >> we don't know. things can be different. we thought this was how life was supposed to be. life can be different. watch not allowed to foreign movies. we are not allowed to read books like here. i did not know what philosophy was or evolution. the whole humanity.
he brought peace to this world. they tell me there is nothing to envyn we ahecountry in this earth and everyone wants to be like us. it was not really paradise. it was a living hell. in 1993.n they stopped providing food to north korea and we started the rations system. country, people were discriminated by the regime. 1995 to 1998, some
people say 2 million people died. i cannot imagine how many people died during that time. everyone lost family members including mine. young and my grandma was taking lots of medicine, and i was asking her, grandma, why are you taking so much medicine? i heard my uncle was screaming and asking my grandma to wake up, and that is how she ended her life. that was something normal for us.
nobody taught me what compassion was. freedom and human rights and no word for love. can express in that country is love for the regime. i could never imagine i could tell my mom i love you. i never told my mother i love you. everyone was willing to die for the regime. north korean people, the regime, killing people with gunfire for luckily it.'s , -- dvd's.
but lucki, i dinot get caught. i watched the action movie. they shoot each other all the time. i cannot live there. saw wwf wrestling, and i thought that was how american men all looked. i was so disappointed. [laughter] >> and titanic. i could not process even when i saw that movie. i was shocked. how does somebody make a movie about such a shameful story? it's a love story. i could not imagine somebody would make a movie about the love story. we did not know what shakespeare was.
i never read 19th-century books. the whole history is forgot. we are not allowed to know where we are coming from. you just know you are the people of kim jong-il. it's shocking. >> my father was a party member. he got arrested for trading with china. he was sent to prison. he is no criminal. he is a normal businessman in this country. because he was more north korean -- it was illegal.
that was how he became a ,risoner, and he got tortured and he lost his dignity. it's not the level we can think of. there are nice human beings. hear that a lot. political prison camps. are labor camps in north korea. they are treated like animals. like just animals. why do we care about prisoners? i lived without both of my parents at the age of eight. i went to the river, washing clothes and taking baths and
eat grasshoppers, dragonflies, plans, anything i could get from nature. what can i do? how our nutritionists. -- nutrition is. it was a way of life. in spring, when the life comes back, things grow again, but in north korea, spring is death. thinks spring is the season of life because people suffered or in the winter and in summer, the plants grow, and many people died during the spring.
i did not know what was happening, but if i knew i went to china, i would not die from starva. 13, my sister was 15, she went to china with her friend. she left me a note that said if you go to find -- they can help you to go to china. i moved up. i could barely walk. to go tocarried me china th spring. lady help us, why doesn't she asked for money? we crossed the first river in 2007. i thought i would go to china. i did not know what it means to be free.
in china, i saw my mothering front of my eyes. -- mother right in front of my eyes. my mom asking me what the want to do? i was merchandise from that moment. this is a typical story going into china. people are being victimized by human trafficking. my mom was being sold for $65. i was sold for $260. you can buy an iphone with that money in this country. that's somebody's life. people pay a price for two
people. these people do nothing wrong. they were just born in this country. i lived in a nightmare. enslavement. the man who bought me let me go and then i met christian missionaries, and they told me that for the first time, you can be free if you go to south korea. i ask -- i don't know what it means to be free. what do you mean i can be free? that person told me you can wear jeans. that was freedom. not the freedom of speech. not the freedom of ections. that is how we risk our lives and went across the freezing gobi desert in 2009.
we had little comfort with us. we followed the northern start to freedom. star to freedom. that is how we became free. a joney to be free. desert. cross another i had to know about this world. ime traveler. i did not know how the airplane flies. i do not know how they are flying. what that was. i remember when i saw on tv, people talking about animals rights. i did not know i had rights. in this country, animals have rights. how different this world is. learnly that, i had to
copy machines. what is the supermarket. everything. like a baby who can talk and walk but does not know anything. that was very painful, but not only that, people started asking me, what do you think? , theer had the privilege option to choose what i was going to wear, what i am going to study. peoplesk whai want to do in the future? color? your favorite i did not know what i wanted to do. i was asking and hoping someone would tell me what i should do for my life. that, i -- but not only just lost faith in humanity. i cannot tru anybody again.
how could i trust again what you're telling me is the truth? i could not do it. no, it cannot be true. one person changed me, george orwell's "animal farm." i did not know -- how did i know? i thought this book would be about animals. i could not believe it, because my grandma was in that book. my mother was in that book. and myself in that book. it explained everything to me. that showed me the path of north korea, the presence of north korea. i realized the north korean people deserve what we have here
. what we are going through now is not justice. if we say we believe in justice, how can we let this happen? it is another holocaust. why are these people not allowed to learn books? if they are north korean, these people are not different, they are just like us. they have potential to be like south koreans. .t is tragic after they had a different south korea ism, the most developed i.t. country. north korea is the most tragic place on earth. we should stop this. is it it is like -- really that bad? it cannot be true. how come it is so bad? it is really that bad. that is why you are not allowed to go there and see people.
that is why i am telling my story. that is why i wrote this book. i hope we can learn something and do something about this tragedy. we have lots of things, i say. if i had the things you throw away in this country, i would never escape, and never be a slave. my father passed away. in china in the middle of the night. i could not even c b i was scared if somebody can hear me. i hope he can spread the word and let the world know that people can be free like us. they do so much for taking the time to come and listen to my talk. thank you. [applause]
>> thank you. thank you. anybody have questions? >> i have one million questions. [laughter] of going on fond youtube and looking at north korean videos that are posted. we always see the north korean people cheering madly and crying, weeping when they see the grand leader. how much of that do you think israel? how much -- is real? and how much is because they had better do that? >> is the good question. actually, i wonder the same thing. when i was in noh korea, everybody is watching each other, and you cannot know who the spies are. assigned to be a spy.
on me,n you, you spy someone spies on her. you cannot escape that process. somebody is watching me, so i have to report you. if this person does not watch -- that person will be punished again. but kind of system, everybody is watching on each other. they can be a spy. they can be spied. that is how they keep the country in fear. it was like living in the truman show. nobody is telling me the truth. i did not tell the truth either. i told nobody what i thought, really. so i don't know. they have two clout to survive. if they don't clap, they get killed. it is not right. they cannot be true. that is all that matters. that is the question -- is that
really true or not? they willeople do it, get killed. and they have to do it to survive. crazy. [laughter] >> thank you. >> about three years ago, there as another author who cowrote book with a guy by the name of shin -- >> he escaped, yes. >> have you met him? >> he is my friend. >> good. >> oh yeah. do you have any question about that, or? >> i just wondered if you had had a chance to contact him yet. but you do. >> he does? you mean -- he just married. he also met american b
astard. american lady. it's like he is living in freedom. activist and spokesperson. i think he's doing really well. >> ok, thank you. >> thank you. circumstanceshe when for the first time, you actually felt free? >> thank you. hmm, i still do not know, honestly, what it means to be free fully. freedom is lots of things. i think freedom is everything for me. once i found freedom, i became a new human being. i can talk, and i can think for myself.
i was able to read boo i all the books. i have to catch up on lots of stuff. i have to know about the middle east. i have to read tourvive ain in sou korea or else i will not be able to talk to you guys because i will be like an alien. i will a you what is mars? what is a satellite? i think that is freedom. to me, it's like when i fly to portland, it's freedom. how they imagine i was want to take an airplane. i did not even know what a passport was when i was a north korean. traveling not know freely was something allowed for human beings to do. so just everything that we do and even -- yeah, thank you. mm-hmm? [laughter] about your question
english, which is quite good. where did you learn it? have you been practicing? and also, i have another question about what is the story with your sister? she came to us after a long seven years ago. and we met in freedom again. after that, we survived, and we carried on. we never gave up. that is how -- she is in freedom now, and she is safe. of for english, it's kind that -- i watched the american tv show "friends." [laughter] one season has 24 episodes and 10ns, sso 240 episodes. if you repeat that for 30 times, you reallyave english for
sure. very, very sure. [laughter] 1980's,w lots of 1990's. people look at me like what is wrong with you? that is how i got the information from tv shows. culture, taught me the that we eat turkey for thanksgiving. we kissed during new year's eve. you know. all those kinds of things. so i really liked it. [laughter] >> right here? sorry for that. i have read that a lot of north korean defectors, once they got to south korea, they hostility toward them, meaning they were not welcomed. did you have the same experience amongst the south koreans towards you? >> yeah, it's kind of another
tragedy. you think you escaped north anda and you escaped china, then in south korea, everything will be all right. no. this world is really hard for us, i'll just say that. i do not know. it's a dilemma for me why south koreans have so much things and lots of other countries. these people, it's not like they don't have compassion. they have compassion, generosity, and kindness. but they have a very ignorant attitude towards north korean human rights issues, and i think because of the korean war, they often said i am a spy. they might just joke about it, but that is -- it stings.
why am i here? i am a spy. they are a competitive society, so the ink we come there and take their jobs, increase competition. and we are the less educated people, so we might be potential terrorists. more higher have korean crime rates. and those kind of stereotypes. the free market, you don't work hard, you are not trustworthy, you don't know anything, and you have a different accent. so that is the kind of general stereotype against us. so we also have to fight. in my case, i told nobody i was from north korea. at my university, i told nobody. i told my professor i was from south korea, and that was the way i could survive. but things are changing. not everybody treats it that way.