Witness to Transformation: Refugee Insights into North Korea

Witness to Transformation: Refugee Insights into North Korea

Marcus Noland, Stephan Haggard

Language: English

Pages: 256

ISBN: 0881324388

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Witness to Transformation: Refugee Insights into North Korea

Marcus Noland, Stephan Haggard

Language: English

Pages: 256

ISBN: 0881324388

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Despite its nuclear capability, in certain respects North Korea resembles a failed state sitting uneasily atop a shifting internal foundation. This instability is due in part to the devastating famine of the 1990s, and the state's inability to fulfill the economic obligations that it had assumed--which forced institutions, enterprises, and households to cope with the ensuing challenges of maintaining stability with limited cooperation between the Korean government and the international community. The ineffective response to the humanitarian crisis triggered by the famine resulted in the outflow of perhaps tens of thousands of refugees, whose narratives are largely overlooked in evaluating the efficacy of the humanitarian aid program. Exploiting Refugee Insights into North Korea; uses extensive surveys with refugees, who now reside in China or South Korea, to provide extraordinary insight into the changing pathways to power, wealth, and status within North Korea. These refugee testimonies provide an invaluable interpretation of the regime's motivations and they assess the situation on the ground with the rise of inequality, corruption, and disaffection in the decade since the famine. Through the lens of these surveys, preeminent North Korean experts Marcus Noland and Stephan Haggard carefully document the country's transition from a centrally planned economy to a highly distorted market economy, characterized by endemic corruption and widening inequality. Noland and Haggard chart refugees' reactions to the current conditions and consider the disparity between the perceived and real benefits of the international humanitarian aid program experienced by this displaced population. Finally, the book examines these refugees' future prospects for integration into a new society.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

among the respondents. The North Korean regime has conducted a succession of classification exercises, and family background is a key determinant of life in North Korea (Hunter 1999).7 The regime has divided the population into categories of reliable supporters, the basic masses, and the “impure class”; these are commonly called the “core” (haek-sim-gye-cheung), “wavering” (dongyo-gye-cheung), and “hostile” (juk-dae-gye-cheung) classes.8 In our sample, 7. “Core” supporters of the government,

PERILS OF REFUGEE LIFE  35 Korean women also suffer abuse from Chinese guards along the border and North Korean officials upon repatriation (Faiola 2004). We asked respondents if they knew of women being trafficked in China and a majority responded affirmatively. Prices vary depending on the age of the woman and whether she is encumbered by dependents, with young, single women fetching the highest prices. These findings are strong testament to both the desperation of refugees and the multiple

policy for North Korea along two distinct dimensions. First it is important to distinguish policies to address the human rights and humanitarian problems in North Korea from the distinct issues surrounding the refugee population. Second, the international community can pursue policies that engage the government of North Korea and require its cooperation; we begin with a discussion of an agenda to engage North Korea on these issues, which we label “direct policies.” But given that the current

to this kind of survey work. 159 Implementation of the Surveys The China Survey The China survey was conducted under the auspices of the US Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (subsequently renamed the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea) through a grant from the Smith Richardson Foundation. The survey instrument was designed by members of the committee (including one of the present authors) in collaboration with Professor Yoonok Chang of Hansei University. The survey was

incarceration after, 27–28, 82, 91 legal prohibition of, 149 motivations for, 35, 42–43 risk of, 93 repression, institutionalization of, 98–99, 115 resettlement preferences, 34–35, 42–43, 107–109, 108f, 151 residence permit (hukou), 33 resistance, forms of, 112–15 “responsibility to protect” doctrine, 144 retrenchment era group, 26, 105 ro-dong-dan-ryeon-dae. See labor training centers Roh Moo-hyun, 152 self-reliance (Juche), 12 songbun (official social status), 15 services sector, 126

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