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HONG: My name is Adrian Hong and I'm Executive Director of a group called LiNK, Liberty in
North Korea. And I would like to thank everyone for taking the time out of days to come join
us for a little bit, and also for Google for graciously hosting this talk. I'm here to
speak with you about, I guess, a cause that we work on. It's called--essentially it's
the North Korean Humanize crisis and I did speak here at Google in fact in this very
room last year in June of 2007. And since then, as far as the issue itself has gone,
nothing has changed. I can say unequivocally that as far as the number of people that are
suffering, as far as the crisis goes and the depth of what is happening, whether it's in
China or North Korea, nothing really has changed. And in a way, it's become a fact of life for
the people that work on this issue and also for the people that suffer as a result of
this crisis. But I also think that the fact that progress is not happening, the fact that
fundamentally the issue continues to live on the way it is, means that we have to take
more actions to stop it. And so today we wanted to come by and share with you some of our
work and some of the issue itself and also introduce you to a special guest of ours,
Mr. Shin who is the main speaker for today. But before we go into that, I'm going to share
a little bit about the issue as a whole and give you a bit of background or context for,
I guess, Mr. Shin's experiences. North Korea today is possibly the last communist or totalitarian
country left in the world. A lot of "isms" and government systems that we write about
in high school or college have largely become extinct but North Korea has steadfastly and
stubbornly held onto a lot of relics of the past. The country has about 24 million people
and in the 1990s, an estimated two to three million North Koreans died of starvation,
which is one of the most painful ways to die as a human being. Two to three million North
Koreans, it's about one tenth of the population, starved to death. Without getting into human
rights, without getting into political or religious freedoms, just talking about health,
the country is at a unbelievably stunted and handicap state when it comes to public health,
when it comes to nutrition, when it comes to rate of malnutrition and malnourishment.
Large proportions of the population do not get daily food or rations of food. In fact,
as of last week, NGOs reported that this fall, most likely 200,000 to 300,000 North Koreans
would starve to death. We would lose 200,000 to 300,000 people from a resurgent famine.
I cannot comprehend what 200,000 or 300,000 people looks like. The most I could think
of is one football stadium worth of people, that's all I could think of. To me, these
numbers are very staggering and difficult to grasp and understand but at the end of
the day maybe the statistics don't really matter and the fact that is most relevant
to us is that people are suffering and dying when they don't need to. Diseases like tuberculosis,
scarlet fever, even the common cold spread throughout the North Korean countryside. And
because their immune systems are so weak from not having daily food and nourishment, many
people die of these diseases. Some diseases that you can get over in a day or two of sleep
here in the United States, people die of in North Korea. Moving beyond that, the education
system is at a very, very low level. Many children and young adults spend most of their
time learning about the government and the--and the leader; what Kim Jong-il used to do as
a child, anecdotes and stories about how he is a brilliant man and brilliant campaigner,
and artist, and writer, and musician. And very little attention is really spent on information
that actually is relevant for many North Korean people. And it's a system built to keep these
people in subservience to the country. Most North Korean children especially of this generation,
of our generation, are physically stunted. If you meet a North Korean, if any of you
have ever had the luxury of meeting a North Korean, whether they're diplomat or an athlete
or a refugee, they're usually very small and very frail. If they're a survivor of a concentration
camp, they usually have telltale signs of forced labor as a child; arms that are disproportionately
long, a slight limp or a slight bend towards one direction, and you'll recognize that in
Mr. Shin when you meet him in a few minutes. Children that do not get regular food do not
suffer just from physical stunting. They are not just a foot or a foot and a half shorter
than their average peers anywhere else, they also suffer from permanent brain damage. If
you do not get regular nourishment from the ages of zero to maybe five, the crucial critical
formative years, for life you will have permanent mental stunting. It's something that you cannot
recover from. An entire generation of North Korean people have been lost to this, they're
a lost generation in a lot of ways, and the world has largely not noticed. And we began
this work because we found it shocking that this kind of suffering on this scale could
happen in the world and nobody would pay attention, and the world would continue to move and we
would continue to go about our days without changing any of our habits or changing anything
at all. That's just the health situation. Beyond that, once we get into the spectrum
of freedoms and civil liberties, every single freedom, every single one, that we understand
and appreciate here in this room or in this country or pretty much anywhere else in the
western world does not exist in North Korea. Freedoms of religions, of speech--I mean,
of freedoms of religion, of speech, assembly, of movement, of descent, the right to complain
that the ration was not enough, the right to complain about the leader of the government,
the right to go to the town next door to visit your aunts or uncle. In North Korea, you cannot
leave your hometown without a government permit. You cannot go and sell goods that you have
on a market without permission from the government. Black market--essentially, a black market
has been created and the soldiers continue to clamp down on it, when people are essentially
selling food to survive because they're starving to death. All radios and televisions in North
Korea are built just to accept government frequencies. And if you'd alter your radio
or television to accept other frequencies, say Voice of America, Radio Free Asia, or
broadcast from Japan, China, Russia, South Korea or even the United States, you will
be sent to prison. And so following along that note, North Korea has developed an extensive
system of concentration camps throughout the country. A network of camp that has several
different tiers, the worst tier is called the Total Control Zone which Mr. Shin is the
only known survivor of. Beyond that, there are several other tiers of forced labor and
reeducation camps. We have satellite imagery of these camps, we know the exact locations
of every single one of them. We know which buildings are used for ration distribution,
or for the military barracks, or for the public executions. We know where the barbwire runs.
We know what the hours of the guard routes are, and who runs each camp. We know everything
about these camps and nothing has been done. So in these camps today, an estimated quarter
million North Koreans live and die in this system of political prison camps. The kind
of crimes that have been committed for these people to enter these camps range from folding
a newspaper so that the crease fell on a picture of Kim Jong-il's face, to sitting on a picture
of the dear leader, to not wearing a red pin--if any of you have seen pictures or photo galleries
of North Korea and life in North Korea, every North Korean has a red pin on their left lapel
and that image has either a picture of Kim Jong-il, the former leader, or Kim Jong-un,
the current leader, his son. If you do not have that, you are not being sufficiently
patriotic or sufficiently dedicated to the socialist paradise and communist revolution,
and essentially you will be dealt with accordingly. Most of the people in these political prison
camps have no idea why they're there and North Korea also pursues a policy that punishes
three generations of people for every crime committed. In other words, if I commit a crime,
my children and grandchildren will also be sent to these camps. My father and mother,
my aunt and uncle, my cousins, anybody in my direct relation will be punished for what
I've done. So if you've lived in North Korea, if you were raised in that country, if you
are not among the political and military elites that have the luxury to get food and, in fact,
iPods and Mercedes-Benzes evidently, and Hennessy and Rolexes. If you're not among the party
elite, you're probably not going to be entirely too happy. And many North Koreans have manifested
that desire for freedom or food by leaving. It's estimated that a quarter to half a million
North Koreans have left North Korea, crossed the border into China, over the last decade.
They are tens of thousands of North Koreans right now on the streets in this country and
the fact of the matter is, they're refugees. North Korea's law, their very constitution
and national security law say, if you leave the country without permission, you will be
committing treason and you're punishable--it's punishable by death. It's a capital crime.
If you leave the country without permission because you wanted food, your uncle went ahead,
your family left and you're catching up with them, or even because you got drunk and stumbled
across the border, you left the country without permission from the dear leader, and the punishment
can go up to death. And most refugees that get caught and sent back to North Korea are
severely tortured and interrogated, pregnant women have babies forcibly aborted, children
are often sold into the black market, and the worse case scenario is, especially if
you met with a South Korean or an American or a Westerner or became a Christian for example
or went to an underground church, you will be sent to a concentration camp. And in many
cases you will be publicly executed. North Korea is one of the few countries remaining
in the world that holds public executions where they bring out the entire village and
town to watch. In fact, two months ago, there was an execution of three individuals in North
Korea where 150,000 villagers all came out and were forced to watch what had happened.
They were shot at the stake, and their crime was having attempted to leave to China. That
was their only crime. The Chinese government has captured and repatriate North Korean refugees
by the thousands every month for the last 10-15 years. I myself and several of my colleagues
were arrested in China about a year and a half ago for just protecting refugees, for
giving them food and shelter and just trying to get them to safety. The Chinese government
criminalizes this act in violation of international law, as they seem to do everywhere else, and
essentially, sends these refugees back to their deaths, knowing exactly what happens.
Until I went to prison, I assumed that maybe the authorities were completely aware of what
North Korea does to them. I assumed that maybe it was a top down initiative from Beijing
and their government, and they were just ordering the locals to comply and that the locals maybe
did not know exactly what they were doing. But I spent a lot of time in interrogation
and a lot of time speaking with Chinese officials and guards and foreign ministry officials,
and they all know exactly what happens to North Koreans when they're sent back to their
country. They're tortured, they're put in concentration camps where they're executed.
So, what I've come here to tell you--share with you is that we have on our hands possibly
the worst humanitarian crisis in the 21st Century. And there are a lot of crises that
demand our attention rightfully so. And this week, in particular, Burma is having a significant
amount of issues. We've had crises in Darfur for the last five years. We've called it a
genocide for five years and we still have not done anything. But North Korea is unique
in a lot of ways. And the greatest distinction I can make with North Korea is that the scale
of human suffering and the amount of energy and effort that has gone into perpetuating
the system far surpasses anything else. This is not people dying of machetes or mob violence.
This is not a natural disaster or crisis where people--officials are negligent of responding
and therefore causing suffering. This is not a natural born famine that is spreading throughout
the country and the government just doesn't want to intervene so it won't. It is not a
situation where you have rival feudal lord fighting over natural resources or even a
civil war. The North Korean government has gone through the effort and spent the money
and resources to build concentration camps. It takes a lot of energy to build these places.
One of these camps is 400 square miles, 400 square miles in size. The camp that Mr. Shin
was born and raised in, he spent 24 years of his life in this camp, had 40,000 inmates,
40,000 inmates. The amount of energy and the amount of thought and preparation that the
North Korean government has spent on this system I think is not just indicative of the
culture and mentality that the government has, but indicative of a human rights violation
or crimes against humanities that far surpasses anything else, that demands an answer from
humanity. And I'll be honest with you, over the last four years of doing this work, I'm
not exactly optimistic about the United Nations, or the US Government, or the powers that be.
But I remain optimistic about the potential of the grassroots and the potentials of individuals
like yourselves to do something about this crisis. The only lives that we've been able
to save for the last four years have been saved as a result of average people, common
individuals around the world, getting together and doing something. And we have been able
to save lives. And so essentially, we're here not just to share our stories and to share
Mr. Shin's experiences but also to ask for help. And so, I'll share one story with you
before Mr. Shin comes up. The story of the Good Samaritan which many of us have learned
whether offhand or going to church or--it's just culturally, we are aware of these things.
It was told by, I guess, Jesus in the Bible, and he talks about this guy that was beaten
on the side of a road and left for dead. And a priest walks by and ignores him, a Levi
walks by and ignores him, and later on this third guy who was a Samaritan, who at that
time was not exactly socially popular, stops, helps this guy, gets him up, takes him to
an inn, makes sure he's taken cared of, and essentially pays for his care and leaves.
And the whole moral of that story is that, everybody is your neighbor, you should care
about your neighbors, and even this guy who was not exactly a social celebrity, who was
not well liked during that time, stopped to help him, while much better--the higher profile
people, with more resources, did not. The moral of that story is, like as I said, just--that
we should all look out for one another and do what we can. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
shared this story in one of his speeches but told it a little bit differently. He said
that maybe the priest was on his way to a sermon and the whole choir was waiting and
he had his robes on and he thought, "If I stopped to help this guy not only am I going
to be late to service but I'm going to get my robes dirty." And he calculated that it's
in his best interest not to help him. And maybe the next guy, the Levi, stopped by and
thought maybe this guy was tricking someone. He's pretending to be dead, he's pretending
to be hurt so that if I stopped to help him, he can attack me and take my money, and he
moved on. And both of those men asked themselves a very important question, that I think consciously
or subconsciously every one of us in this earth, including myself, ask ourselves everyday,
maybe even several times a day. And the question is, "If I do not stop to--if I--if I stopped
to help this man, what will happen to me?" Right? We ask ourselves that question everyday
when there's these homeless people on the street, or things we read in the news, "If
I stopped to help this man, if I do something about this situation, what will happen to
me, to my health, to my finances, to my abilities, to my resources?" But the question that the
Samaritan asked was different, it was fundamentally flipped. And he said, "If I do not stop to
help this man, what will happen to him?" It's a subtle distinction but I think it means
everything in the world. And I would ask you as you watch this footage, as you listen to
Mr. Shin's story, to ask yourselves that question. And I think--I fundamentally believe that
if more of us or enough of us start to care about this issue and do whatever we can for
this, that we will make a big difference. And so, Mr. Shin, who will now come up with
his translator, was born in 1982 in Concentration Camp Number 14 in Kaechon, North Korea. It's
one of five total control zones that we know of. His camp, as I mentioned early, has 40,000
inmates and he's witnessed some terrible things. Because his camp was the kind of camp where
no one who was meant to ever leave, he was not even taught basic North Korean propaganda
which every other North Korean knows by heart. What year Kim Jong-il was born, what his favorite
songs are, different speeches that the great and dear leaders have given through out their
lives. They know this propaganda by heart, by instinct, but Mr. Shin doesn't know any
of it because he was considered basically a dead man walking. He would--he was born
in this camp and he would die in this camp. And there was no reason to even bother teaching
him any of this propaganda. Mr. Shin's first contact with the outside world came at the
age of 24 when he managed to escape from the North Korean concentration camp. He did not
escape for political freedom, he did not escape because of strongly held views, and liberty
and justice. He escaped because he was tired of being beaten and he decided that he didn't
want to starve anymore. And everyone has asked him what his biggest impression and shock
was of the outside world, and they all ask him, "What have you thought about South Korea?
What have you thought about America?" And he said, "America and South Korea were great,"
but the biggest shock for him was the day after he left this North Korean concentration
camp. He says, he went to the North Korean countryside, he saw people walking around
in different colored clothing, buying food as they wanted, and moving as they wished.
And that to him was freedom. For the first time he recognized what freedom was. That's
where Mr. Shin comes from. Where they had to wear the same clothes everyday--he went
to the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC last week. He pointed out the uniforms that the
inmates in Auschwitz and Dachau to wear, and he said, "We had to wear the same thing."
He has scars around his ankles from shackles, when he had to walk half a foot at a time
doing forced labor. He has scars along his back and his torso from when he was tortured
after his mother and brother tried to escape from the camp, they were publicly executed
as a result. And he has a lot of remnants of his time in this camp, but he has taken
it upon himself to use what's remaining of his life to fight for this cause and spread
awareness. And so, Mr. Shin will now be joined by Michael Yang who has generously offered
to help us translate, our original translator was not able to make it. And we're going to
first show a short video clip of his story and--that's because it's very emotionally
draining and difficult for Mr. Shin to keep talking about, in graphic detail, how his
mother was publicly executed, or what, you know, he saw on this camp. And afterwards,
Mr. Shin will share a little bit and we'll [INDISTINCT] sometime for questions. The footage
you're about to see--before Mr. Shin's interview, we'll start with some footage of refugees
in China attempting to find sanctuary, as well of North Koreans in side North Korea
as well. And this is all footage from just one or two or three years ago, it's all very
new. And the biggest thing I want to stress again is that this is not a history lesson,
this is happening right now and nobody is really doing anything about this. So we'll
start the video clip. Please welcome Mr. Shin Dong-hyuk and also his translator Michael
Yang. [INDISTINCT] we're also going to transition laptops very quickly. [INDISTINCT]
>> SHIN: [SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE] >> YANG: Hello. My name is Shin Dong-hyuk.
>> SHIN: [SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE] >> YANG: Thank you so much for taking interest
in this issue in your busy schedule. >> SHIN: [SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE]
>> YANG: I heard that Adrian came here last year and gave a talk about North Korean human
crisis situation--human rights crisis situations. >> SHIN: [SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE]
>> YANG: Us North Korean escapees are interested in speaking out to increase awareness to help
those we left behind, other people in similar situation in North Korea.
>> HONG: Mr. Shin would like to show everyone the location of his camp on Google Earth.
He's also not Mac proficient. >> SHIN: [SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE]
>> Ying: So, I understand that this Google Earth site was developed by Google and this
site is very popular among South Koreans in Korea.
>> SHIN: [SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE] >> YANG: So, since any average person could
look up this site, you can go in there and look at the concentration camps, the [INDISTINCT]
>> YANG: So, where that cursor is, is the concentration camp in P'yongan-namdo of North
>> YANG: You may think that--you may say that this looks pretty average geography, how can
a political concentration camp be located there.
>> SHIN: [SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE] >> YANG: It appears to be an ordinary city.
>> SHIN: [SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE] >> YANG: So just to show you that this is
not an ordinary city, I'll zoom in and show you more.
>> SHIN: [SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE] >> YANG: You may be able to see the white
>> YANG: So what you see there is the electrical fence that surrounds the concentration camp.
>> SHIN: [SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE] >> YANG: The political concentration camp
there is around the Taedong River in North Korea.
>> SHIN: [SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE] >> YANG: He'll go over there and explain.
>> SHIN: [SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE] >> YANG: Okay, so to the right is the concentration
camp and left is the outside of the concentration camp.
>> SHIN: [SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE] >> YANG: So that's the--where the military
personnel are stationed to keep the prisoners from escaping.
>> SHIN: [SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE] >> YANG: So there's a number of different
lookout post at different points to--for the North Korean soldiers to keep an eye out on
the movements of all the prisoners. >> SHIN: [SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE]
>> YANG: So I'll show you the barbed wire fence across on the other side.
>> SHIN: [SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE] >> YANG: So that's where they move out the
coals that was mined by the prisoners. >> SHIN: [SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE]
>> YANG: So this is a village where the prison guards lived.
>> SHIN: [SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE] >> YANG: Even this area is blocked out by
fences so that the prisoners cannot go in there.
>> SHIN: [SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE] >> YANG: So where the mouse--the cursor is,
is the place where they educate the children who are born inside the prisoner camp.
>> SHIN: [SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE] >> YANG: It's also a place where they, in
order to motivate the prisoners, they provide reward "reward marriages" to reward them for
>> YANG: So the children of reward marriage couple learn there and they learn to read
and write and also learn to do the work. >> SHIN: [SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE]
>> YANG: So this is the other side of the electric--the barbwire fence.
>> SHIN: [SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE] >> YANG: Oh, it's in the ridge of the mountain.
>> SHIN: [SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE] >> YANG: So as you saw on the first screen,
there is a military base where they keep the soldiers and--on--to prevent the prisoners
>> YANG: So, there are different kinds of concentration camps in North Korea, but this
one is a political prisoners' concentration camp and this is how they keep all the prisoners
inside and they have to live there until they die, from birth to death in that area.
the boundary is the political concentration camp where he was born and raised.
>> SHIN: [SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE] >> YANG: Now, I'll be happy to take any questions
from the--from you. >> I wanted to ask, how did you interact with
local people around the camp after you escape? Because in Russia, you know, every local would
be instructed to turn you back to police. >> YANG: [SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE]
>> SHIN: [SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE] >> YANG: So, I immediately went into an empty
house and changed the clothing from a--the prisoner's clothing to a plain clothes of
a citizen and other citizens don't seem to be that mindful about whether somebody was
a ex-prisoner or not. >> Thank you. And how did you make your way
to the border of North Korea? I see it is a very long voyage.
>> YANG: He escaped the prison--the concentration camp in January of 2005 and took him one month
to get to the border to North Korea--I mean China.
>> But didn't police check your documents on the way?
>> YANG: So normally you're required to have a travel--document travel pass when you travel
but in this particular time the checking process wasn't as strict. [SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE]
>> SHIN: [SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE] >> YANG: So he met a lot of other escapees
who traveled without the travel documents and if they get caught, it's against the law
to travel but sometimes they provide some cash bribery to the police and they would
let you go. >> Yes. But how can one get cash if one just
escaped from prison? >> YANG: [SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE]
>> SHIN: [SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE] >> YANG: Inside the prison--the concentration
camp he didn't even know what money was, there was no such thing as money. It's all done
by food, things are controlled. >> SHIN: [SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE]
>> YANG: [SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE] >> YANG: So as he was a scrounging for food
when he came out of the concentration camp, and he saw that different things have value
and he realized those things are money because they could--you could get food with those.
>> SHIN: [SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE] >> YANG: So he saw that people were using
paper to buy food and he realized that those are powerful instruments.
>> SHIN: [SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE] >> YANG: So he learned the value of the money
within two days of escaping the camp. >> Did someone provide you with money to make
this voyage? >> YANG: Did he ask--use money?
>> Yes. >> YANG: Is that your question?
>> How could he get money to make this trip? >> YANG: Oh, no, no, no. I think what he said
was that some people used money to bribe the soldiers if they get caught. He didn't say
that he used money to bribe. >> Oh, all right.
>> YANG: He said, some escapees [SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE]
>> SHIN: [SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE] >> YANG: I myself--he was--himself was not
caught so he was very fortunate that he was... >> Good.
>> YANG: ...he was--he did everything he could to be not get caught.
>> All right. >> YANG: And he didn't have to bribe anyone.
>> So did you travel at nighttime when you... >> YANG: [SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE]
>> SHIN: [SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE] >> YANG: Yes, he moved night and day because
he didn't really have any place to go during the day time either. He just kept on walking.
>> Okay. Thank you. >> SHIN: Thank you.
>> So, thank you for coming and sharing your story.
>> SHIN: [SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE] >> Now when you get out of the camp, how did
you know where to head? Like, I'm just imagining if I'd come out a mountain, I'd be like--I
don't even know which way to head to San Francisco if I'm new in the area. How did you know which
way to go--to head China? >> YANG: [SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE]
>> SHIN: [SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE] >> YANG: I didn't know which direction to
go and I had nobody to ask where to go. >> SHIN: [SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE]
>> YANG: I just thought to go away from the camp as far as I can.
>> SHIN: [SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE] >> YANG: I just kept on going away from the
camp and as he was traveling, walking, he hear--start to hear about China.
>> YANG: So since he was from P'yongan-namdo which is sort of southwest part of North Korea,
and that China is next to Hamgyongbuk-do, which is northwest, he just started going
toward Hamgyongbuk-do because he became more interested in China.
>> Okay. And once you got to China, because you don't speak Chinese, how did you manage
to get around in China? >> YANG: [SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE]
>> SHIN: [SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE] >> YANG: Right, not just him but some 300,000
North Koreans who fled to China to get food, they don't speak Chinese, but they were able
to survive by getting some food and help from the local Chinese and some ethnic Koreans
who lived in China. And just working and just doing whatever to survive and get by.
>> Okay. And last question is, aren't you worried that now that you are public with
your book, that the North Korean government is going to come looking for you?
>> YANG: At first I was fearful, I was scared. >> SHIN: [SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE]
>> YANG: And for awhile, I was living in hiding. >> SHIN: [SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE]
>> YANG: At some point, I came to realize. >> SHIN: [SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE]
>> YANG: So as I'm doing now, he talked to other North Korean people who escaped from
North Korea who has been speaking out for the past ten years.
>> SHIN: [SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE] >> YANG: So that there a lot of people dying
of hunger and that, you know, the stories of what goes on inside the concentration camp.
And it's been going on for ten years but not much change.
>> SHIN: [SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE >> YANG: Even though there's been a lot of
people speaking out against--on these issues, human rights violations and all these atrocities
in North Korea, the people who are still in power in North Korea have not changed and
the system continues even today. >> SHIN: [SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE]
>> YANG: Oh, so he realized that, you know, how much longer are we going to go around
just talking about it? >> SHIN: [SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE]
>> YANG: And for how much longer are we just going to just do the interviews and give talks.
>> SHIN: [SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE] >> YANG: So he wanted to become more proactive
about testifying, witnessing, being a witness to what goes on in North Korea and that's
when he got the courage. >> SHIN: [SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE]
>> YANG: People say that without sacrifice, there is no democracy.
>> SHIN: [SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE] >> YANG: And at present, there are some 13,000
North Koreans who escaped North Korea living in South Korea.
>> SHIN: [SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE] >> YANG: As I did, many of those 13,000 people
are afraid of Kim Jong-il, the fear of being tracked down and they're living in hiding
>> YANG: When I was in New York last week, along with the--Adrian Hong of the LiNK organization
as well as other volunteers and staffs, he got to visit the UN representative office
from North Korea, North Korea's UN delegate. >> SHIN: [SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE]
>> YANG: At first, I was scared to face them because they're North Korean diplomats but
I realized that they were more afraid of me than I was to them.
>> SHIN: [SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE] >> YANG: As they were hearing the fact that
I was from North Korea here to testify and listening to Adrian Hong, they were--they
were shivering, they were scared to death. >> SHIN: [SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE]
>> YANG: So I realized that all of us 13,000 North Korean people who escape North Korea
have been scared for no reason. There was no need to be scared.
>> SHIN: [SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE] >> YANG: So I came to be convinced that with
the 13,000 North Koreans who escaped to South Korea and with the participation of different
people like people in this room and other parts of the world, we can overthrow Kim Jong-il
[INDISTINCT] government in North Korea and bring democracy to North Korea.
>> HONG: With that, we're going to be wrapping up our session. But if anyone has any additional
questions for Mr. Shin, we will stick around here in the corner for a little bit longer.
So, you're welcome to come up and ask us. But as far as the work goes, saying that we
can do a lot with your help, you know, as Mr. Shin has said, and as I have said, it's
not just to make everyone feel warm and fuzzy and encouraged. I know, a lot of times, when
you hear about this--these problems, that the first--at the onset of that, it's kind
of overwhelming, it's depressing, it's frustrating, it's easy to become angry, but it really is
true. I mean, I get phone calls in the middle of the night to my cell phone from people
out in China or other countries asking for safety and protection. We get e-mails from
people in the field and hiding from local police or authorities asking us to tell them
where to go. We have situations where we need to open up shelters in Asia and we have LiNK
protection officers hiding refugees in basements and attics all over Asia. Where we need to
open up a new location but we simply don't have the funds, and we're not talking millions
of dollars, we're talking hundreds and maybe thousands of dollars. So in terms of ways
to help, whether it's with funding or raising awareness or spreading this Google video out
when it gets online [INDISTINCT] with your friends and family and colleagues, we need
help as much as possible. We need--we need a lot of help. With regards to this Google Earth
there, I want to share with you that a very high ranking US senator, recently, when the
South Korean president, Lee Myung-bak, visited Washington, gave him copies of Google Earth
images of the concentration camps and said, "Google Earth makes witnesses of us all."
The South Korean president was visibly moved, and more and more of the leadership of the
world is starting to come to grips with the fact that not only is this real and the evidence undeniable but that we have an
obligation to protect--a responsibility to protect these individuals. So I would ask
of the people here to have the same convictions that Google Earth makes us all witnesses.
That anybody in the world can log onto their desktop and find the concentration camp he
was born and raised in, in 30 seconds. It's a vast difference from the Holocaust, from
every other genocide, and situation of crimes against humanity that we've seen in
the last hundred years. The information is undeniable at this point. And I think--to
close, there's a quote from Albert Camus, where he says, "Perhaps we cannot prevent this world from being a
world in which children are tortured, but we can reduced the number of tortured children."
We've come here to Google because we firmly believe that. We don't have any illusions
as to the power of our efforts, I don't think we can change North Korea overnight. But we
can change the lives of individuals like Mr. Shin, slowly but surely, and for those individuals, it's the difference
between life and death, literally. So if you'd like more information about our work, we encourage
you to go to www.linkglobal.org, that's L-I-N-K global.org. And thank you very much for spending
your time
with us.
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Hhart Budha published on June 14, 2014
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