Yeonmi Park is a name synonymous with freedom from the oppression and struggles that plague the people of North Korea. At a young age, her family had to run for their lives. Her family was staring at death in the face, and it was time for them to leave their country.
Her journey in the struggle for freedom and survival in arguably the most repressive country on earth is the inspiration behind her upcoming book, In Order to Live. The book is a real life story of a young girl’s journey from her narrow escape to South Korea through to her current life as a Human rights activist.
The book highlights her quest for freedom from her country of birth where the regime has airtight controls over its citizens. Everything from what you do, what you say, even where you go is controlled by the government. The country’s rule is a dictatorship and is plagued by forced poverty.
In Order to Live is more than just an inspiring story for North Korean refugees. The book is based on one’s ability to overcome even the most horrific and hopeless circumstances through love and a resilient spirit. Park mentions how she has learned, through her experiences, to love others and that she is willing to die for them.
Park’s early life.
Yeonmi Park was born on October 4, 1993, to a family of privilege in the North Korean city of Hyesan. Things were relatively fine until her father, a prominent civil servant, was arrested for illegal trade. The arrest led to the family’s suffering that later became a battle against starvation. They were later forced to escape through China and then Mongolia before finally achieving their dreams of freedom in South Korea.
Today Yeonmi Park is an internationally recognized human rights activist. Since her escape, she has spoken in numerous interviews and written publicly about her life in North Korea. She also volunteers for activist programs and is a member of a non-profit organization that rescues North Korean refugees hiding in China.
Follow her on Facebook for updates about her current life in Seoul.
Her fame and rise to celebrity status can largely be attributed to her story of escape told at well-known events such as the One Young World summit in Dublin, the TEDx, and the Oslo Freedom Forum. She also worked as a co-host of the podcast show, North Korea Today. The show discusses the life of North Korean refugees after their escape as well as other topics related to the country.
Following the release of a video by North Korean state media, Park refuted claims that her father didn’t defect and that he died of cancer in North Korea. She considers the leadership of Kim Jong-Un to be cruel and oppressive for continuing the abuse on its people.