The Student News Site of Illinois Wesleyan University

The Argus

The Argus

The Student News Site of Illinois Wesleyan University

The Argus

The Student News Site of Illinois Wesleyan University

The Argus

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IWU’s Korean Culture Club hosts activists LINK

Nick Cocorikis


The Korean Culture Club hosted LINK in the Main Lounge on Tuesday, Nov. 4 to speak about the growing liberty and freedom inside North Korea.

LINK, which stands for Liberty in North Korea, is a non-profit organization based in California focused on raising money to help North Korean refugees that have escaped to China get an education and escape the possibility of being sent back to North Korea.

American media has painted a very disturbing and violent picture of what life inside North Korea is like, but first-hand accounts are where personal stories hit hardest in the hearts of people who have no idea how the North Koreans live.

Three refugees that LINK has helped escape China after leaving North Korea shared their stories and a documentary of one will be shown later this month on campus. All three shared stories of hardships, prison camps and torture, but all three also have hope for the future.

Following widespread famine during the 1990’s the generation of North Koreans that lived through the starvation survived with a new sense of freedom and resistance against the Kim regime. Known as the Jangmadang generation, or market generation, this generation began to trade through an open market economy to compensate for everything lost in the very poor state economy of North Korea. These open markets gave a new sense of freedom to the people as they traded and bartered with one another to make some money and even stay alive.

Eventually technology such as CDs and media from China and America made their way into North Korea and only further deepened the need for freedom and liberty. Now the people that were able to escape are telling their stories and advocating for the expansion of groups like LINK to help more refugees.

According to these refugees, the most important avenue of change is through communication to their relatives still in North Korea. The spread of knowledge and experiences gained in countries like the United States gives hope of a better life to those still living in North Korea.

If you want to learn more about LINK or even start your own project to help save a refugee then visit There you can see even more survival stories, buy LINK apparel to help benefit the cause and donate money to help save refugees.

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