Global Politics

Is there hope for resistance in North Korea?

Kim Jong-un_factory_CROP.jpg

Credit: North Korea's Korean Central News Agency

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un visits the Aquatic Products Refrigerating Facilities.

Kim Jong-un leads one of the world’s most oppressive regimes. One prison camp in North Korea is three times the size of Washington DC. Filming everyday life or watching a foreign film could get you locked up, even executed.

But as Frontline reveals in their new documentary, "Secret State of North Korea," a growing number of North Koreans are risking their lives to challenge the regime — in ways large and small.

Not only are North Koreans illegally smuggling information from inside North Korea out, a growing cohort of defectors are risking their lives to get information about the outside world in.

“What surprised me the most wasn’t the poverty and poor conditions people live in—which are, undoubtedly, shocking,” says Frontline director James Jones. “It was the ordinary North Koreans who were standing up to authority.”

(Listen to The World's interview with director James Jones here.)

What forms is the resistance taking? Is it organized? Do dissidents have a chance to challenge Kim Jong-un’s authority? Are we on the brink of a “North Korean Spring” — or a major crackdown?

Producer James Jones and Columbia University North Korea scholar — and former CIA analyst — Sue Mi Terry participated in a live chat on Wednesday, January 15, 2014 from 1 p.m. - 2 p.m. to answer those questions. They were joined by guest questioner, The World's Aaron Schachter.

[This was cross posted by The World's partner program, Frontline.]

 

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