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Faking or Fleeing? Yeonmi Park’s Conspiracy

Imagine living in a world where everything is shrouded in mystery: one can be executed for even attempting to watch an American movie, and people stare emptily on the street, surviving off of dragonflies and grass. Yeonmi Park claims to be a North Korean defector, only escaping through helpful missionaries. However, her stories can’t seem to line up with her previous statements, from how she was treated in North Korea to how she escaped it.

A big piece of evidence directly comes from a South Korean TV show called “On My Way To Meet You”, where North Korean defectors are asked to talk about their experiences. During the TV show, Parks’s mother is quoted saying, “It wasn’t as harsh (referring to eating grass), and we did not starve. For example, if someone was to ask what kind of rice we ate, we didn’t differentiate between white rice or corn rice as we did not know the difference.” Park later claimed that she and her mother were forced to respond that way.

Park has also made many statements that show her prosperity in North Korea. Her mother is seen in the South Korean TV show wearing a Chanel bag and checkered pants and dresses imported from Japan. Park points this out, quoted “My mum even carried around a Chanel bag in North Korea.” When the interviewee questioned other North Korean defectors in the show if Park would be classified as rich, one defector said, “Yes, that’s right.”

Another quote was from multiple sources, as she continually changes the crime a mother was executed for. In 2002, Park claimed that her friend’s mother was killed for watching a James Bond movie, but in an interview with Joe Rogan, she said they were executed for South Korean DVDs. She then revokes her statement in an interview on the Independent, claiming that a Hollywood movie was the reason for her execution.

The reason switching for every other interview could have been an honest mistake. However, other North Korean defectors have been interviewed about the public execution when watching movies. Multiple defectors from her hometown in Hyesan have debunked the myth, responding that arrest is possible, but public execution has never been seen before.

Using this evidence, I personally believe that Park has lied about a few of her credited stories. While I do truly believe that Park has both lived in–and escaped–the harsh environment of North Korea, I similarly believe that the living conditions and escape were not as glamorously depressing

One thought on “Faking or Fleeing? Yeonmi Park’s Conspiracy

  • Nice story, never heard of Yeomi Park before this is interesting

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