On Sunday 8th June, the NKHR Rescue Fund held a unique event at Haichi Hall, Myeong-dong. At this event, guests were treated to an exclusive screening of the documentary “Dear Pyongyang”. Directed by Yang Yong-hi, this documentary follows her own family and the struggles they face after her three brothers are ‘repatriated’ back to North Korea.
Her family are members of Chongyron, a pro-North Korea organization of ethnic Koreans living in Japan. Yang’s father, an ardent communist and one of the founding members of Chongyron, sent his three young sons ‘back’ to North Korea during a repatriation campaign that saw thousands of ethnic Koreans and some of their Japanese families ‘return’ to the Fatherland. As the youngest and the only girl, Yang remained in Japan.
The documentary outlined the problems the family faced upon their separation. As North Korea slid further into economic decline, the film depicts how her three brothers became increasingly dependent upon care packages sent by Yang’s parents. It also shows conversations with her father in the home and on several visits to Pyongyang, during which he discusses his ideological faith and regrets over his decision to break up the family. The footage shot inside of North Korea is also particularly eye opening.
Following the movie screening our guest speaker, Suryeon Lee, led an emotional but humorous Q&A. Her family were also members of Chongryon in Japan and returned to North Korea during the ‘homecoming’ movement in the years following the Korean War. Suryeon was born in North Korea and was raised alongside her family’s increasing regrets. She finally managed to escape to South Korea with her mother in 2006. Unfortunately, her father was captured and tortured for their escape and later died of his injuries. Her first-hand perspective and unique experiences made for a very interesting discussion, with many audience members offering thought-provoking questions.
Thanks to a wide turnout and generous contributions, this event raised ₩470,000! These donations bring us even closer to achieving this year’s goal of raising $15,000 to save 6 North Korean refugees and help them pass safely into South Korea.
Please keep up to date with the NKHR Rescue Fund website and facebook page to find out about our upcoming events. For summer 2014, we have some very exciting events planned and we look forward to seeing you all there!
We are a group of volunteers fundraising for NKHR (Citizens' Alliance for North Korean Human Rights) to rescue