The Value of Freedom

Estefanía Campos  | 09 de abril de 2019  | Vistas: 21

China College Freedom Forum Dictadura Human Rights

During the North Korean Famine of 1990 to 1998, Grace Jo and her family had to be creative to survive; in this conference she shares her story, that is also the reality that millions of people faced during this time in North Korea, where at least 2.5 million people died from starvation, diseases and hipotermia.

Grace narrates the story of both of her parents, who tried to cross the border to China to get food, but were caught and severely tortured. Her father was arrested and forced to admit the charges he was accused of; while being transported to a prison, he died for his wounds. She says, afterwards her mother made the decision to take her siblings and her to China.

It is very difficult for me to explain all the tortures, intimidation and pain we suffered from the prisons in both North Korea and China”.

But the difficulties were not over. In China another journey begins for Grace and her family, because they had to hide in the mountains and run to different villages without being caught and reported to police. They were imprisoned for 13 months and then a pastor bribed officers to release them; they crossed the Tumer river and eventually after 15 months the UN rescued her family and transferred them to the United States as legal refugees.

We were finally and truly blessed with the gift of freedom, but like I said it before, that is not the case for most North Korean defectors who are trying to escape”.

Then she explains what regular and serious defector cases are in that country, how they are perceived and the characteristics and consequences for both. Jo talks about her current family situation, the challenges they are still facing, and also shows her gratitude towards her mother, who’s bravery finally made them free.

Finally Grace gives some great ideas on how people can get involved in the defense of human rights, help to advocate against China’s repatriation of north korean nationals and for democratic countries to take in more refugees.


Activist and vice president, NKinUSA


Nuestra misión es la enseñanza y difusión de los principios éticos, jurídicos y económicos de una sociedad de personas libres y responsables.

Universidad Francisco Marroquín