|Women across North Korea and China|
Women across North Korea and China
This is a testimony received from an activist in China, of a North Korean woman, in her thirties, who has been in China for about two months.
Q: What is it like nowadays in North Korea?
A: North Korea is in times of trouble and hardship. Last year it was impossible to irrigate the crop and rice fields so all the fields just dried up. On that field, we planted corns, but only one out of ten stubbles grew. Because of the poor harvest, all we could eat were nothing but crude corn or any sort of grass that grew in the mountains.
Q: How did you come out to China?
A: I was sold out to China. Both of us didn’t have husbands and we sold a few things to make a living. We heard about the better conditions of living in China and crossed the boundary. As soon as we crossed the river, we were sold over to a Chinese, we were then transported on a truck and sold for 5,000 won. How good it would be if at least a 100 won from that sum could be taken to our children. Today we hear that the Chinese police in Heung-Ahn caught eight more defectors.
Q: How are the repatriated treated back in the North?
A: In May 25th, Kim Jung-Il proclaimed a policy. He believes that one run-away would lead to another, because of this he inflicts severe punishment on the defectors. All who are caught, are imprisoned in a labor-training center for at least 3 years.
Q: How do you temporarily cross the boundary to China?
A: If we pay some money (two hundred yuan) we can go back to North Korea. They even take us all the way back home.
Q: Do you have any experiences in the prison?
A: On July 29th, 2001, I was caught while crossing the river over to China. I came out after being imprisoned for a month at the detention center in Chungjindo. Someone else was also caught last year by the Musan security guards while crossing the border who was also imprisoned for a month.
Q: What’s it like in the detention centers?
A: We eat husks adulterated with oily liquid. Ordinary people can’t eat such food, only people like us can, people who have starved for days.
Insects like lice, fleas and bugs molest us too. All narrow gaps are black with lice, fleas and bugs. We sleep on the cement floor without any spreads or covers, except our clothing. And of course we don’t have any toothpaste or soap.
Q: Have you seen any pregnant woman from China brought into the detention centers?
A: Yes. They are not treated as human beings at all, especially if the child’s father is a foreigner. I’ve heard they beat pregnant women nearly to death.
Q: What is the first question they ask when you are caught?
A: Whether we believe in Christianity, or met any Koreans and such. They use every possible means to get answers to those questions, some even thrust a skewer in people.