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N. Korean defectors in China seek new lives inside the country

Women who defected from North Korea are fleeing their homes in rural Chinese villages in search of new lives, Daily NK has learned.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a Daily NK source in China said that some female defectors living in rural Hebei Province “recently fled their homes” to “seek new lives as it has become more difficult to go to South Korea.”

The women earn a living doing agricultural work, including tending fields, planting seeds and spreading fertilizer. However, they live meaningless lives as if trapped in a cage, with little access to cash and unable to come and go as they please because they have no identification papers.

In the past, female defectors in rural villages tried to flee to South Korea to escape such a lethargic life. As it has become more difficult to travel to South Korea in recent years, and as they risk being repatriated to North Korea – a fate worse than death – if they are caught, the women practically live as “human oxen” working on the farm, unable to go anywhere.

In response, a growing number of women are fleeing their homes and hiding out with friends or acquaintances, hoping to start new lives with new men.

One woman receives help from acquaintance to start new life

A 30-something defector from a rural village in Hebei Province lived a very passive life with her Chinese husband and child for 10 years, unable to buy proper cosmetics or clothing, according to the source. 

When the woman asked for money to buy such things, her Chinese husband scolded her. “You just stay at home, so why do you need makeup?” he asked. “You can just put anything on, so why buy clothes?” He also insulted her: “You’re putting on airs because you lived like a beggar but became a millionaire overnight.”

In response to his criticism, the woman tried to escape to South Korea several times, but each time she was caught and beaten.

Unable to rest easy, the woman finally escaped from her home on June 6 with the help of someone she knew. She now wants to meet another Chinese man to start a new life, the source said.

“Most of the North Korean women who are staying with people they know after escaping want to meet wealthy Chinese men,” he said. “Since it’s harder to go to South Korea, they try to escape their current lives by meeting new men.”

He added, however, that even if they meet decent men, “their unstable lives without papers won’t change.” He said that ultimately, they can only end the psychological pain and instability “if the path to South Korea opens up.”

Daily NK works with a network of sources living in North Korea, China, and elsewhere. Their identities remain anonymous for security reasons. For more information about Daily NK’s network of reporting partners and information-gathering activities, please visit our FAQ page here.

Please send any comments or questions about this article to dailynkenglish@uni-media.net.

Read in Korean

June 24, 2024 at 01:00PM

by DailyNK(North Korean Media)

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