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North Korean Refugee Park Yeon-mi, Chinese Netizen Reactions

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From NetEase:

The Life of a Young North Korean Woman After Escaping to South Korea

Combining reports from The Daily Telegraph and other media, North Korean refugee Park Yeon-mi was born in 1993, is 21 years old, and a third year college student. In 2009, she along with family passed through many places to go from North Korea to South Korea. In the five years since, she has lived in South Korea‘s capital of Seoul and is currently studying law at Dongguk University. However, 15 years ago, she lived with her parents and younger sister in Hyesan, the capital of Ryanggang province in North Korea’s north.

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Park Yeon-mi is now a minor celebrity, often taking television interviews wearing a smile, as well as using Facebook, Twitter, Skype, WeChat and other tools to interact with various countries’ netizens on social media. She also often tours various countries, telling people about those complex memories and stories that happened around her.

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Next month, Park Yeon-mi will be going to the annual World Youth Leadership Summit in Dublin, the capital of Ireland, where she’ll meet former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Irish rock and roll singer Bob Geldof, world circumnavigator Ellen MacArthur, and other famous individuals.

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In Seoul, South Korea’s capital where Park Yeon-mi is about 50 kilometers away from the North Korean border, surrounded by high-rise buildings, luxury cars everywhere, and ten-lane highways… When she gets caught up in remembering the past, she always feels as if she has gone to another planet.

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“I am currently in university, studying law. I feel like I am a different person now. When I was in North Korea, no one would ask me, ‘what do you think’, ‘what do you want to do in the future’, ‘what is your dream’. Now, I have free will.”

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Park Yeon-mi was born 1993 October 4th in Hyesan in the north of North Korea near the North Korean and Chinese border. In the second year after her birth, 82-year-old North Korean founding leader Kim Il-Sung died from illness. Photo is of Park Yeon-mi attenting a conference.

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Park Yeon-mi also has a little sister. Her father was a government civil servant in Hyesan city. During the worst years of the 1990s, her father relied on secretly selling precious metals to scratch out a living, up until 2002 when her father was sentenced to prison for “illegal conduct”.

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Three years later in 2005, Park Yeon-mi’s father was “fortunately” able to get out of prison because of intestinal cancer. Park Yeon-mi remembers when she saw her father and how he no longer looked as he once did. The little girl wearing the white top in the photo was Park Yeon-mi when she was 12 years old at the time.

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Another two years later in 2007, Park Yeon-mi’s little sister secretly left North Korea, and her family had no choice but to follow in search of her. Park Yeon-mi remember her and her father crossing three mountains, a river, passing through many places for two years before arriving in Mongolia in 2009, and afterward South Korea. Throughout it all, they found no sign of her younger sister. In 2008, Park Yeon-mi’s father died from illness, 45 years old at the time.

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16-year-old Park Yeon-mi and her mother started a new life in South Korea. At first, they worked as a salesperson and service staff, their income allowing Park Yeon-mi to return to school. At present, Park Yeon-mi is already a third-year student at Korea’s Dongguk University. In April this year, Park Yeon-mi was reunited with her long-lost younger sister.

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Park Yeon-mi says that in the three years since 2011 when North Korean leader Kin Jong-il passed away, she and her mother have found it hard to believe it to be true, having thought of Kim Jong-il as a leader like a god. Park Yeon-mi hopes to continue her studies in the United States after graduation, to study her favored field of international relations. She hopes to work in the United Nations’ humanitarian organs in the future, and contribute what she can.

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Park Yeon-mi told the reporter that she and her family have a very good life now, “I hope I can return to North Korea one day, to rebury my father in our homeland, even if it has to be my children who will do this for me.” However, she feels it it is very difficult to imagine when this day will come.

Comments from NetEase:

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未闻慰问唯闻维稳 [网易广东省佛山市网友]:

North Korean refugee Park Yeon-mi. In 2009, she along with family passed through many places to go from North Korea to South Korea.
When she gets caught up in remembering the past, she always feels as if she has gone to another planet.
“I feel like I am a different person now.”
Park Yeon-mi finally went from hellish North Korea to heavenly South Korea.
——————————————–
This story tells us: Cosmetic plastic surgery changes lives/fate/destiny.

罔易有态度 [网易天津市网友]:

Very pretty. If she lived in North Korea, she would’ve been a slave all her life.

无人相伴 [榜上有名]:

[Kim Jong-un?] saw her picture and cried for three days in his bed, then…

柳岩姐姐 [网易湖北省荆州市网友]:

Female bangzi generally have big breasts, where even those in North Korea where they can’t get enough to eat are big. Looks like [most Korean women having big breasts] isn’t an idle boast.

一言九頂 [网易陕西省西安市网友]:

My grand-uncle was a Nationalist soldier, and has been dead many years now. He used to come back every year and bring a lot of money with him, and in the 90s, he had bought a coach bus for his nephew to drive!

真理粉碎机 [网易湖北省荆门市网友]:

“Park Yeon-mi says that in the three years since 2011 when North Korean leader Kin Jong-il passed away, she and her mother have found it hard to believe it to be true, having thought of Kim Jong-il as a leader like a god.” — This planet is not necessarily all part of the human world, there’s also hell. When the ordinary common people are made into slaves, that’s when you can become a “god”!

空亦空 [网易广西网友]:

When she gets caught up in remembering the past, she always feels as if she has gone to another planet.
Now, I have free will.

走走道就疯 [网易广东省肇庆市网友]:

First order of business upon reaching South Korea was to get cosmetic surgery.

家在左海边 [网易福建省福州市网友]:

Only when there is a leader like a god can you have a people like dogs.

从未降入丙级 [网易吉林省长春市网友]:

Not as pretty as Ri Sol-ju.

Written by Fauna

Fauna is a mysterious young Shanghainese girl who lives in the only place a Shanghainese person would ever want to live: Shanghai. In mid-2008, she started chinaSMACK to combine her hobby of browsing Chinese internet forums with her goal of improving her English. Through her tireless translation of popular Chinese internet news and phenomenon, her English has apparently gotten dramatically better. At least, reading and writing-wise. Unfortunately, she's still not confident enough to have written this bio, about herself, by herself.

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