A North Korean defector said the world cannot “just sit and keep watching” as North Korea persecutes Christians and others. Ji Hyeona spoke at the U.S. State Department’s Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom event at the Harry S. Truman Building this week, telling her story of abuse and torture while trying to escape North Korea.
“I have escaped from the North a total of four times and got repatriated to the North three times until I finally came to South Korea in 2007,” Ji said, “In between, I fell victim to human trafficking and I was also subjected to abortion violently forced on me even with no anesthesia.”
She said she was interrogated about her Christian beliefs each of the time she was repatriated. “Just like Peter denied Jesus three times, I lied each of those times that I got interrogated,” she said.
“We can not just sit and keep watching what they are doing because indifference is the most tragic tool that puts people to death and kills them,” she said, “Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said: ‘The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.’”
Ji first tried to escape with her family in 1998. Her father was arrested and she never saw him again. She was then arrested and sent back to North Korea.
That same year, Ji was arrested for trying to leave North Korea. She was sent to North Korea’s Jeungsan Camp No. 11 and held at the camp for more than a year.
Then, in 2000, she escaped a third time, but was repatriated back to the country in 2002. She escaped for the last time in 2007 to South Korea.