Yeonmi Park’s Defector Story

It is clear that upon hearing Yeonmi speak, she has lived a remarkable life. One of the few people to have fled and escaped the communist dictatorship of North Korea, 22 year old park has lived through more in her short life than most people will live through in their entire life.

After escaping into China when she was only 13, in 2007, Park eventually settled in North Korea where she now lives and attends university, when she is not busy with speaking engagements, book tours, and advocating for human rights. This young girl has a remarkable story that has been told to people all around the world, and has inspired Yeonmi Park to write an Amazon released book, entitled “In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom”.

As horrific as her story is, there are still people inside North Korea who try to discredit her. As reported on, a group of artist in Pyongyang, NK News have tried to discredit her with an elaborate video entitled “Park Yeon Yi, The Puppet of the Human Rights Plot.” This elaborate video tries to poke holes in her story by pointing out some of the minor discrepancies between the earlier accounts of her story as reported at TEDx talks and in The Gaurdian, and the newer accounts in her book.

But Yeonmi Park stands by her story, as she should. She has pointed out to detractors that her English was not good in the beginning, and that she had many reasons to be hesitant to be forthcoming with all the details of her past. She was concerned about protecting some of her relatives who were still in North Korea as well as embarrassed about some of the details of her story, particularly some of the sexual abuse she endured during her journey.

The truth is that no matter the individual details of Yeonmi Park’s life in North Korea and her journey to freedom, her tale is important for many of the millions of people still trapped in North Korea. Her work as a human rights advocate may be the key to freeing these people from tyrannical rule.