Film Unearths Crisis in North Korea
On the evening of November 2 in the Theresa Lang Center, Liberty in North Korea (LiNK) featured a screening of their recently released documentary film, “Hiding: The Final Cut.”
LiNK is a non-profit, non-partisan, and the only full-time grassroots organization in America devoted to the North Korean humanitarian and refugee crisis.
According to LiNK’s website, its mission statement is “redefining the North Korea crisis through creative storytelling, while providing emergency relief to North Korean refugees and pursuing an end to the human rights crisis.”
In the documentary film, the main story is about a LiNK group who planned and executed a mission to help several refugees escape from China to Southeast Asia through the modern day underground railroad.
“It [the underground railroad] is approximately a 3,500 mile journey from China through Southeast Asia,” stated Hannah Song, president and CEO of LiNK in the film. “[North Korean refugees] cross multiple borders illegally through multiple countries and eventually find safety in Southeast Asia where they can seek resettlement in a third nation.”
Since North Korea is a closed country, its people are unaware of much that is occurring in the outside world.
“One of the reasons why the government is very hesitant to open up the reform too much is you want to get people to think for themselves organizing and then protesting as they do in Libya. That’s one of the reasons they go back and forth. At the same time, that’s probably what we would expect to see,” stated Dr. David Kang, director of Korean Studies Institute at the University of Southern California in the film.
In the film, LiNK discusses how North Koreans think about escaping with their life at stake and many have tried out of desperation. It is a very tough choice since they would have to leave their families behind, usually not even informing them. They would leave with nothing and must immediately hide once they step foot in China. The Chinese government labels these refugees as illegal migrants and exposed refugees are immediately repatriated.
Violators are held in political prison camps where they overworked, raped, tortured and publically executed. The North Korean government denies the existence of these camps.
At end of film, one of LiNK staff members added that all the refugees in the film have been resettled in either the U.S. or South Korea.
“Honestly I didn't know so much depth. I know it happened in the past because you learn it in our textbook but I think they should definitely spread the word more. I really applaud the work they are doing, ” stated Sharon Sin, a sophomore in liberal arts in Kingsborough Community College.“Hiding: The Final Cut” will be available next month on LiNK’s website.