Monday, August 20, 2012

Movie: Seoul Train

Catherine the Great and I watched the 2005 movie Seoul Train last night (Netflix).  A  good documentary of the efforts of North Koreans to escape to South Korea.  And a good comparison to our Underground Railroad.

North Koreans face a two-stage escape that is cruel beyond words.  To get to South Korea, they must flee North to Communist China, then flee China.

Stage one is to make their way to the Chinese border in a closed police state.  If they make it to the border, they likely did so with bribes, and yet more bribes are necessary with the border guards.  Currency, and items of value to trade, are nearly absent from the North Korean environment.  It is the most desperate of efforts by any human to succeed at this first stage.

Stage two is to pass through China.  China actively pursues North Korean refugees and will repatriate them to a guaranteed Gulag term.  If the refugee was caught with a Christian aid group or other Western aid group where they could be corrupted with visions of liberty, they are executed upon return to North Korea.  China knows that these people are welcome in South Korea and also know that they face prison and/or death if returned to North Korea.  Women, who make up 75% of the refugees, are often 'trapped' when they cross into China and sold into the sex trade.  The luckiest are those with family in South Korea who coordinate with aid groups like LiNK to bring their relatives out.

The documentary does a great job of identifying the human rights abuses of China, and the impotent and incompetent UN Refugee Agency (UNHRC) which is charged with helping North Koreans.  The documentary also shows hidden camera footage from inside North Korea.

The Seoul Train DVD is over $200, but free on Netflix.

Map from LiNk.

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