Sep 19, 2012

Christians risking life to help North Koreans escape


FILE - In this Thursday, Feb. 16, 2012 file photo, New North Korean leader Kim Jong Un waves at Kumsusan Memorial Palace in Pyongyang after reviewing a parade of thousands of soldiers and commemorating the 70th birthday of his late father Kim Jong Il. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder, File)
A new underground railroad run significantly by Christians has formed to help North Koreans escape their oppressive regime, Hudson Institute senior fellow Melanie Kirkpatrick told The Daily Caller.
“The new underground railroad is a secret network of safe houses and escape routes that carries North Koreans across China to safety in neighboring countries,” Kirkpatrick, author of the new book “Escape from North Korea: The Untold Story of Asia’s Underground Railroad,” explained to TheDC. “From there, most go on to South Korea, though a few come to the U.S. or go to Europe or Canada.”

“Two groups of people operate the new underground railroad,” she continued, “brokers, who are in it for the money, and humanitarian workers — especially Christians — who are in it to serve God. It is against Chinese law to assist North Koreans, and anyone who helps them is subject to arrest, prison, and, if he’s a foreigner, expulsion. In ‘Escape from North Korea,’ I profile several American Christians who help. They operate safe houses, they run orphanages, and they lead North Koreans out of China. These people are brave and incredibly inspiring.”

Kirkpatrick says escaping North Korea is no easy task.

“Anyone who wants to escape needs large measures of courage, determination and luck,” she said.
“The only practical escape route is through China — across the Yalu or Tumen River. North Koreans who cross the river to China can be shot in the back by North Korean border guards.”

While Kirkpatrick says North Korea is “the world’s most repressive state,” she explains that the “lowest circle of hell is the gulag, where 200,000 or more North Koreas are incarcerated, often with three generations of their family.”

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