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ICC Note: As winter causes rivers separating North Korea and South Korea to freeze, many young North Koreans are asking their parents for money they can use to cross the border to China. Frustrated by the conditions of life in their repressive, sanctions-hit country, the chance to live in freedom is the best gift that their parents can give, according to sources in North Korea. North Korea is one of the most repressive authoritarian states in the world, with Christians and ordinary citizens facing everyday hardship and persecution. 

01/11/2018 North Korea (Radio Free Asia) – Young North Koreans frustrated by the conditions of life in their repressive, sanctions-hit country are beginning to ask their parents for money they can use to cross the border into China, in what some are calling the best New Year’s gift they can hope to receive, North Korean sources say.

With the rivers that separate the two countries freezing over in recent weeks, growing numbers of North Koreans are now trying to cross into China on foot, a source in North Hamgyong province, bordering China, told RFA’s Korean Service.

“And young adults who are dissatisfied with the system are asking their parents to save money to help them defect,” RFA’s source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“Residents in the border areas know how much money it can cost to cross the Yalu river or Tumen river into China, and members of the younger generation are openly asking their parents for support, calling the chance to live in freedom the best gift that parents can give,” the source said.

Many North Korean parents now want to send their children to South Korea by way of China, even if they can’t make the trip themselves, he said.

More than 20 residents of North Korean border areas have been caught attempting to defect since the beginning of the year, a source in Yanggang province, also bordering China, told RFA.

“A small number of them were able to cross the Yalu river but were later caught in China, but most were captured before they could even cross the river,” the source said, also speaking on condition his name not be used.


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