Yeonmi Park is a North Korean defector who began the long journey to freedom on March 31 2007. On the border with China, Yeonmi was forced to cross the frozen Yalu River at night in order to arrive in China. This was yet another difficult journey where she trekked through the wide Gobi desert to the Mongolian border and finally got assistance from missionaries who helped her board a plane to South Korea. Yeonmi has described in a detailed manner her entire life in her new book ‘In Order to Live’.
Yeonmi is a courageous and strong young woman who had to overcome many challenges while still in her teenage years. In a report released on Reason.com, Yeonmi Park said that she never knew the meaning of the word freedom, and didn’t know whether it existed. Park embarked on the journey together with her mother, and relying on a human trafficker who later turned against them when they were in China.
When they left North Korea, her father had been detained and was only released after his health worsen because of untreated cancer. He struggled and joined his family in China but he didn’t live for long, he died and Park says she did not mourn him since she was living illegally in China. Many people across the world have been captivated by her story, her strength and courage during the course of the journey as she has described.
On the other hand, the authority in North Korea has tried as much as possible to discredit part of Yeonmi’s story saying it has some inconsistence. In her defense, Park said she had not revealed each detail about her life previously, because of what they encountered with her mother, something she thought it was not good to say in public.
Today, Yeonmi Park is an activist who has been traveling across the world to let it know how North Koreans are suffering. She is working with other North Korean defectors turned into activists, and other international activists in order to pressure North Korean government and change its oppressive leadership style and embrace democracy. Link https://reason.com/blog/2015/11/15/yeonmi-parks-north-korean-defector-story.