Seoul Train (2005)

Genres - Culture & Society  |   Sub-Genres - Biography, Politics & Government, Social Issues  |   Run Time - 54 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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Filmmakers Aaron Lubarsky, Lisa Sleeth, and Jim Botterworth investigate the situation many believe has the potential of becoming one of the worst humanitarian crises in human history with this look at the countless North Koreans who are willing to risk life and limb in order to escape the tyranny of their homeland. Stifled by the inaction and bureaucracy of the United Nations yet determined to seek out a better life for themselves on foreign shores, an estimated 250,000 North Korean refugees were believed to be living in underground China as of 2005. Despite having escaped a North Korean food crisis and other homeland persecutions for the time being, these desperate souls are systematically arrested and forcibly repatriated by the Chinese government - which does so in direct violation of international law - every month. Since defecting from North Korea is a capitol offense, the subsequent human rights abuses endured by these defiant citizens can range from concentration camp work, to forced abortions, torture, and even summary executions. Though they may find no help from the powers that be, these refugees have found a sympathetic ally in the form of a multinational activist group that has created an underground network of safe houses and escape routes specifically designed to help them escape to freedom. If they get caught, as many including eight-and-a-half month pregnant Nam Chun-mi does, they are almost certain to pay for their defiance with their lives.

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Keywords

activism, bureaucracy, China, escape, homeland, North Korea, persecution, political-crisis, refugee, regime, underground-railroad, United-Nations