The Teach North Korean Refugees Global Education Center asked 142 North Korean defectors how they felt about having their photos taken and their identities revealed online. 64.7 percent of North Korean refugees said they preferred not having their photos and identities revealed online. Here’s some of their individual reasons why:
Eunjeong female [arrived in South Korea in 2019] – My mother is still in North Korea so I am sensitive to photos and being identified as a North Korean refugee. I don’t want to do anything that could put her in danger.
Gaeyoung female [arrived in South Korea in 2009] – No photos. My family is still in North Korea, they warned me not to be public. They told me that North Korea tracks North Korean refugees who speak out. Another reason I want to avoid posting my photo is because I do business with people in China and I occasionally go there. Every once in a while, there’s a rumor that a North Korean refugee who has visited China has been captured and sent back. It is better for me to remain low profile so photos would not be a good idea for me.
Jeongnam male [arrived in South Korea in 2014] – One of my friends who is not political had her photo included in a North Korea propaganda video. It is ironic because she isn’t political or well-known, but her photo was posted in one of those videos and she was identified as being from North Korea. One of North Korea’s agents or one of their spies here must have seen it and decided to use it.
Seonya female [arrived in South Korea in 2008] – My son is in North Korea, I don’t want to do anything to cause him trouble. I had a chance to go to China and I never went back to North Korea. I heard they were looking for me, but I avoided contacting anyone for years and I am still very careful.
Hakun male [arrived in South Korea in 2017] – Two years ago, I was a soldier in North Korea so I am sure they consider me the worst kind of traitor. My family is still in North Korea, I hope to live in silence and secrecy until I can help my family members escape.
Sookyung female [arrived in South Korea in 2011] – A friend of mine posted a photo of us online, and I received some messages from family reminding me not to be public. It could have been a coincidence but it worried me that maybe I was being too [reckless].
Name withheld – No photos please. Our journey was really dangerous. We were in the news because we escaped on a boat to South Korea. I am not interested in attention, I don’t want anyone posting my photo.
[Teach North Korean Refugees Global Education Center]
This entry was posted in North Korean refugee by Grant Montgomery.