A defector from North Korea who founded a group which has for years been sending food assistance and leaflets containing information into the North is not surprised by the threats he and his fellow defectors regularly receive from the Kim Jong-Un regime.

What does surprise Park Sang-Hak, however, is that supposedly democratic South Korea is now opposing and attempting to shut down his group’s efforts.

Park, chairman of Fighters for a Free North Korea, wrote in a July 13 op-ed for The Washington Post:

“Four weeks ago, Kim Yo-Jong, sister of dictator Kim Jong-Un, denounced human rights activists who send balloons across the border. ‘Human scum,’ she called us. The fury and rage of the regime, seeing its monopoly of information threatened so overtly, are palpable.

“South Korea, however, is a democracy, and distributing leaflets is a basic act of free speech. It is nonviolent and educational and allows citizens to engage in direct communication with those suffering under North Korean oppression.”

Park, who was awarded the Vaclav Havel Prize for Creative Dissent in 2013, continued: “But shockingly, South Korean President Moon Jae-In seems to agree with the dictator’s sister. Just hours after her threats, the South Korean government announced that it would outlaw the balloon launches. Now, it has gone a step further and is pressing charges against my organization as well as a group led by my brother on the basis of a law that prohibits ‘unauthorized’ dealings with the North.

“Ten days ago, a TV station revealed my home address to the world, exposing me to other North Korean assassins and their supporters in the South. My personal bank accounts are under investigation, and the government has forbidden me from leaving the country.

On June 30, the government moved to pull the civic licenses of our nongovernmental organization, preventing us from holding charity fundraisers.

“In the hope of appeasing the North, Moon is impeding the work of activists fighting the North’s human rights violations. His administration has cut overall funding dedicated to defending human rights in North Korea by 92 percent.”
koreachess by Gerd Altmann is licensed under Pixabay
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