Brussels (Brussels Morning Newspaper) – After the division of Korea after the end of World War II, millions of North Koreans fled from the country. After leaving the country the residents are at risk of facing legal punishment. The North Koreans that escape from the country are known as the North Korean defectors.
How Many People Have Escaped North Korea?
During the North Korean famine of the 1990s, there was a significant increase in North Korean defectors. The number reached its peak in 1998 and 1999. There is a strong fall in the number of defectors since 2000 because there are strict border patrols and inspections. The forced deportations and the rising of defection have resulted in the numbers getting low.
To escape from North Korea, the defectors cross the Chinese border into Jilin and Liaoning provinces and landed in northeast China. There are about 76% to 84% of defectors have fled to China or South Korea. Every year, there are over 1,000 people escape from North Korea to some of the most secretive countries in the world.
Where Do Most North Korean Defectors Run Away?
The North Korean defectors usually run away to third countries. As China is a close ally of North Korea it is one of the most influential economic partners of North Korea. China has been a continuous source of aid for North Korea for years. This is why China is one of the favorite countries of North Korean defectors.
However, recently China refuses to grant North Korean defectors refugee status and has been considering them illegal economic migrants. If the defectors are caught in China, they are sent back to North Korea. After being deported back the North Korean defectors have to face serious interrogations and years of punishment or even death. South Korea which is the neighboring country of North Korea is also a major place where the defectors flee to.
Many North Korean defectors are running to South Korea because it offers a convenient environment for the residents. Since it is a neighboring country and makes it easier for the North Koreans to cross the border this is why many of them are moving to South Korea.
Why do North Koreans Escape To Other Countries?
The locals of North Korea flee to other countries because they have to live by very strict rules in their country. There are a lot of people including children who try to escape in order as they want to have more freedom in their lives.
The lives of the North Koreans are heavily controlled by the government and they have to follow extremely strict rules. They need permission just to travel around and the TVs and radios are controlled by the government as well. All the news and messages that the North Koreans hear are controlled and fabricated by the State.
Children living in North Korea are not allowed to use the internet and cannot get access to social media. They are not able to know about the outside world and cannot watch South Korea or other entertainment programs. If they get caught breaking any laws they might get punished severely.
A lot of people are very poor and they don’t have enough to eat. North Koreans who speak out against their leader are brutally punished and can even get killed. Hundreds of North Koreans have been put into prison and work camps as they have been disagreeing with the government.
Whether they want to or not, North Koreans have to praise the country’s leader Kim Jong-un. They also have to participate in events where they have to celebrate and praise the leader. It is completely impossible to live your life according to your desires in North Korea.
People are prohibited to speak their mind as their life is fully controlled by the government. Power outages are also a major problem in the country. North Korea goes dark at night and there is almost no nightlife.
Many North Koreans are leaving the country even today because they wish to follow the relatives who defected ten or twenty years ago. They want to escape from the surveillance and suppression of the government authorities. The suppressed lifestyle of the North Koreans has forced them to leave the country.
There is around 80% of the defector population have run away from North Korea to get a better future. Punishment for being caught as a defector for women is less harsh than for men. Men are subject to severe flogging even if they are caught engaging in unlawful activities.