The final pattern I noticed while looking through the archive is the danger each narrator fights through within North Korea and after they have gotten into China. Once a person has been deemed missing within North Korea, they must stay hidden from the police until they have crossed the border. Once inside of China’s borders they must steer clear of the Chinese guards. In China, North Koreans are not seen as refugees and if found they will be sent back to North Korea, if returned they could be sent to death camps, labor camps, or publicly executed depending on the person. From the moment a person leaves their normal life in North Korea they are in danger. Apart from having to hide to avoid guards, North Koreans also put themselves in danger because many of them have no food and no money. They are roaming around China trying to find a safe place to declare refugee status with no food, and so each refugee could die on the road to freedom, but this is all a gamble each person must take in order to leave the horrible life they had in North Korea.Kang Chol-hwan grew up in an affluential family in the capital city of North Korea, Pyongyang. His grandfather worked in the government building in Pyongyang and Chol-hwan spent most of his childhood not ever knowing of hunger or poverty. North Korea was still running smoothly and had enough rations for all its people, in the city at least. Chol-hwan was a happy kid, until the day the guards came to his house. His grandfather had disgraced the regime. When you disgrace the regime up to three generations of a family can be sent to labor camps and held there until they die or are deemed eligible to re-enter society. Chol-hwan spent many years of his life slaving away in the labor camp, getting beat, and was also close to starving to death. Eventually he was released and found himself living the life of a farmer. Soon after this he decided to leave North Korea. He run to China and after many months avoiding the Chinese government he made it to South Korea and found his freedom (Chol-hwan, Kang). From this summary of the book The Aquariums of Pyongyang all the patterns mentioned above are put into context and the life of a North Korean refugee becomes even more clear.
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