The Harrowing Story of Yeonmi Park

Yeonmi Park defected from North Korea and she became recognized across the world for her role as an activist. In the past, she has told the shocking story of how she fled from North Korea when she was still an adolescent, but she never revealed some of the most intimate details about the retrogressive society she was brought up in and the cost she paid for her lucky escape. In her book, ‘In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom‘, she has explained how she suffered while living in North Korea and in her journey through China and finally to South Korea. According to Park, millions of North Korean people are suffering the same way even today.

Park wants the entire world to know how life was and still is in North Korea through her book. Her family was loving and very close to each other, but her father was arrested and imprisoned at a labor camp for operating an illegal business so as to provide for her family. As a result of that incident, they would be referred to as the family of a criminal to an extent of being regarded as criminals too and subjected to cruel margins by North Korean authority. In her book, she revealed what majority of people have been experiencing in the darkest corners of North Korea. She has explained bravery of how they were sold with her mother to human traffickers in China who forced them to suffer psychologically.

Yeonmi Park was born on 4th Oct 1994 in Hyesan, North Korea, a town along the border with China. Both her parents were working in the public service and the family was well-up. After her father was imprisoned, the family struggled to extent of going without food because of the situations they were subjected to. Park’s father was released from prison on grounds of poor health and he urged his family to escape to China. Park and her mother embarked on a journey to seek freedom while her father would join them later, her elder sister had left early without telling them.

In China, they were introduced to Korean and Chinese missionaries who relocated them to Mongolia. Later, South Korean diplomats facilitated their journey where they settled in Seoul. After the struggle she encountered throughout her life, Yeonmi Park decided to be a full time human rights activist championing for freedom in North Korea.

Park joined Dangguk University in Seoul to continue with her education. She has publicly spoken and written about how life is in North Korea and the suffering many people are subjected to by the repressive government. She has joined other activists from North Korea in order to seek freedom of other oppressed citizens of that country.