of the 3-Day Conference
Yoon, whose father was arrested by the Chinese authorities
on May 9, 2005 while attempting to help North Korean
refugees, addressed the group.
Read Grace Yoon’s
3 Former Foster Children Are:
Lee Yong Ae (female, born 1987)
of the prejudice and discrimination still faced by
North Koreans living in South Korea, two of the children
that we not show their photos.
in Musan city, North Hamgyong province, North Korea.
her mother and father both died, she escaped into
she had heard rumors that food was more plentiful there.
1998, at age
11, she was found and put under the protection of
by one of our local shelter workers. She started school
in Yanbian, the Korean Chinese autonomous region of
foster parent program.
spring of 2002, she was arrested during a raid by Chinese
authorities and sent back to
North Korea. However,
later that same year, she managed to escape once
again, and returned to the protection by LFNKR.
of China, to South Korea via a lengthy and hazardous
Lee Gwang-Ryon (male, born 1988)
Hesan city in Yangang province, North Korea.
died following a serious leg injury in an accident. Shortly
after that, his mother disappeared. He went to
China, looking for food.
at age 10 he was found and brought to an LFNKR shelter
by one of our local workers, where he received the
basic necessities, including education, under our foster
parent program. He quickly
But in the
spring of 2002, at age 14,
he was arrested in a raid by Chinese police and sent
back to North
Korea. He was sentenced to hard labor, but later
that year he
to escape once again and returned to an LFNKR shelter.
When he reached
the shelter, he required hospitalization because of his
injuries and extreme exhaustion.
after considerable delay, he finally reached South Korea, where
reunited with the other foster children from his group.
Oh Chun-song (male, born 1988)
Born in a
coal-mining town in North Hamgyong province.
his parents starved to death, he made his
way to China seeking
He was found
by a local LFNKR worker, and he began classes in Yanbian under
our group’s foster parent program.
In the spring
of 2002, he was arrested in a raid by Chinese authorities
and sent back to North Korea. But that same year
he managed to escape and returned to the shelter.
him out of China to South Korea via a dangerous
and roundabout route.
escape, a guard at the check point of
a third country stopped him, but he managed to
talk his way past the
security guards and made it through the gate
on his second try.
August 1, Japan’s Asahi Television aired
a 16-minute segment featuring one of the three children,
Lee Gwang-Ryon (now 17), and his Japanese foster
mother (Chizuko Yamashita,
a founding member of LFNKR).
streaming video version of the feature is available online.
It is all in Japanese, but you can view
it by clicking here.
Second Day ~
Seoul Train Documentary
Screening of the Japanese version of “Seoul
Train,” the award-winning documentary, was followed
by a panel discussion.
LFNKR translated the original English into Japanese subtitles.
issued tickets for this event priced at 1,000 yen (about
$10), and nearly 100 people attended.
to suppress the movie
of the 54-minute “Seoul Train” documentary
was followed by an enthusiastic question and answer
session that continued for nearly 2 hours.
members included (from left to right) Jim Butterworth,
producer-director of “Seoul
Train”; Tim Peters, Christian activist
and founder of Helping Hands Korea; Chun Ki-won,
and Director of Durihana Mission; Kato Hiroshi,
Secretary-General of LFNKR; and Noguchi Takayuki,
the screening, one of the Waseda University
students inquired about screening the Japanese version
the film at their university.
Third Day ~
August 1, 2005
Peters (Helping Hands Korea) discussed the plight of NK
refugees and the humanitarian aid workers who
are still being detained in Chinese prisons. One of
these aid workers is Choi
Yong-hun, now in prison in
Yantai, China. He has now served more than two-and-a-half
years of his 5-year sentence. All the lawmakers
attending from four nations signed petitions demanding
release of Choi Yong-hun and An Chung Hak, who are
imprisoned in China.
Peters also related the most recent incident with which
he was involved.
explained that embassy officials of his own country
(the USA) had declined his request that they support
his efforts to help a 17-year old North Korean
hiding in a shelter in China under particularly precarious
father of the teen refugee had been an officer in the
NK army, and when the family was
arrested in China
and repatriated to North Korea, the father was immediately
executed without trial. The mother was sent to a labor
camp, and the two daughters (ages 14 and 17) were released,
only to bravely risk their lives by crossing to China
younger of the two daughters was picked up by Chinese
police & repatriated, and the older sister
runs the risk of being trapped into human trafficking
if not rescued soon.
sharply criticized the yawning gap between the spirit
of the North Korean Human Rights
Act of 2004 and the actual behavior of State Dept.
employees in diplomatic missions in China, which he
as timid and overly fearful of offending the host
government of China. Read
the text of his speech here.
of LFNKR’s former foster children talks about his
experiences while in hiding in China, and his current life
in his new home in South Korea.
Kato Hiroshi, Secretary-General of LFNKR, served as moderator
for the morning NGO session.
Butterworth, producer-director of “Seoul Train” speaks
screening of the Japanese version of his documentary.
Read the text of his speech