A scholar and author credits the efforts of many brave souls for
the fact that a growing number of North Koreans have been able to
escape the brutal dictatorship and reach sanctuary in South Korea
and even the United States.
Melanie Kirkpatrick, a senior fellow at
Institute, has done extensive
research on what has become the modern-day version of the
"North Korea is the world's most repressive state. It is truly
hell on earth," she asserts. "The Kim family regime controls every
aspect of a person's life, even whether or not they eat. Food is
distributed by the state, and the elites get to eat, and the
ordinary people sometimes don't."
Consequently, desperate North Koreans have made their way into
China, hoping to connect to an underground railroad to the
"This underground railroad was set up about 12 or so years ago.
And it is run by two groups of people: by brokers who are in it for
the money, and then more importantly and perhaps more effectively,
by humanitarians -- mostly Christians who are in it to serve God,"
the author details.
Kirkpatrick estimates that 24,000 North Koreans have made it to
safety in South Korea since 1953, and more than half have gotten
there in the past ten years. A core group of North Korean refugees
now live in South Korea.
The Hudson Institute senior fellow's book is called Escape
from North Korea: The Untold Story of Asia's Underground