Update 1: Thanks everyone for the awesome questions! It sounds like our friend SH is running out of steam and I imagine our colleagues in Seoul have some sore typing fingers, so we're going to have to sign off for now. They'll try to stop by later on and fill in any gaps, but see the links below for more info on how you can help and be sure to follow @LibertyinNK and @aym for ongoing info about North Korea and digital human rights activism, respectively. Please share widely, and until the next time!

Hey Folks, Movements.org here for this AMA. This is JJ at the keyboard and we are joined tonight (or this morning in a chilly Seoul) by an incredible organization Liberty in North Korea: LiNK who is sitting beside (and providing translation for) our friend Sang-hyun who recently escaped from North Korea. Because of the ongoing danger involved in making this passage and the constant threat of retribution, we are not using Sang-hyun's real name, and the best proof we can offer of his identity is a Tweet from both organizations here: Movements.org and LINK. Over the next hour-and-a-half, Sang-hyun will be available to answer any question you have about North Korea-- our goal is to get past the headlines about nukes and sanctions that have bombarded us these past few weeks and understand a bit better what the people living inside the most repressive regime in the world are dealing with every day.

We hope you'll forgive the intermediary nature of this AMA, but responses coming from Movements_Guest will be coming directly from LiNK and Sang-hyun himself.

Movements.org provides support to human rights activists using digital tools to fight repression and helps amplify those voices around the world who are calling for freedom. While we've done a number of activist chats on Twitter, this is our first Reddit AMA, and over the next few months we hope to bring you more opportunities to speak directly with those fighting on the front lines for basic human rights. For a bit more background on this AMA, and to Join Us, visit: Movements.org.

Want to make a difference for Sang-hyun and other people trying to escape North Korea? See below for more info about LiNK and how you can help:

Liberty in North Korea (LiNK) is the only full-time grassroots organization in North America devoted to the North Korean human rights and humanitarian crises. LiNK provides protection and aid to North Korean refugees hiding in China and, utilizing a modern-day underground railroad through Southeast Asia, rescues refugees and helps them to reach freedom. LiNK’s global grassroots movement works to redefine public perception on North Korea, shifting attention away from the politics and onto the people, and provides a way for concerned citizens to come alongside the North Korean people and help bring about positive change. LiNK also works to develop people-focused strategies that will have the potential to promote change inside North Korea in the long term. Learn more and support LiNK here: LibertyinNorthKorea.org

Let's get to your questions!

Comments: 2608 • Responses: 5  • Date: 

wjcgibson352 karma

How do you think the average North Korean would react upon getting out of the DPRK and being exposed to the rest of the world (for example, reading a non-state news website)? What do you think the best way is to introduce the outside world to North Koreans who are able to get out?

MovementsOrg_Guest466 karma

I'm not sure if there is a particular method... I think it's the best if people can see a lot for themselves. The internet is great for that. Also having conversations with other people. - Sang-hyun

MovementsOrg484 karma

Maybe more AMA's? I have a feeling this one in particular would be interesting for North Koreans to get a sense of what kinds of things people want to know about NK...

Penelope742329 karma

What can we do to help the people of North Korea? I live in the US, am Swiss, and many people here do not know about the brutal conditions in North Korea. What can an average person do to try to effect change? Lobby or protest? Thanks for your time, and I am very happy you are safe and well!

MovementsOrg_Guest503 karma

I think that government-to-government aid is likely to all be taken by the North Korean government. Therefore I prefer support for private organizations or NGOs, where the support can go more directly to the North Korean people. - Sang-hyun

Penelope742156 karma

Maybe I will need to donate. Is there anything else we could do here to raise awareness?

MovementsOrg325 karma

Absolutely- LiNK is a great org to support. And they have a few ways you can help raise awareness: http://libertyinnorthkorea.org/redefining/

One of LiNK's big projects is "Talk Shift" (as in: "Shift Talkers") which aims to change the tone of the convo away from the nukes and high political theater to a serious focus on people.

TheDoubtfulGuest249 karma

Thank you Sang-Hyun! You're incredibly brave!

My question to you is, inside North Korea, has the control the regime holds over its people changed much since Kim Jong-Ils death, and is there any hope for progress under Kim Jong-Un?

One other question, is accurate information about the rest of the world becoming more available, legally or otherwise, and do people living there predominantly believe North Korea is the best country, or do they say it because they feel they have to?

I'm sorry if any of that is offensive or inconsiderate.

MovementsOrg_Guest358 karma

As far as I know it is the same as under Kim Jong-il. The method may have changed a bit, and the propaganda being spread to the people has evolved, but basically things have remained the same.

Objective information about the outside world is becoming more available, through illegal means.

People don't think North Korea is the best country in the world. Propaganda is not important any more, people are driven by profit. - Sang-hyun

MovementsOrg188 karma

Also, folks can check out this recent report LiNK contributed to for The Economist-- it gives another quick snapshot of how market opening may be changing the realities on the ground: http://www.economist.com/news/briefing/21571404-sealed-and-monstrously-unjust-society-changing-ways-its-despotic-ruler-may-not-be-able

zillakilla227 karma

What were the movies like in North Korea?

Were you blown away by the hollywood movies when you first saw one?

MovementsOrg_Guest464 karma

I didn't really watch North Korean movies. The stories are so obvious.

The first Hollywood movie I watched in North Korea was True Lies, I saw it around year 2000 or 1999. It was really fun! I also watched Titanic. But I don't really remember it... It was a long time ago. I think it was fun too.

  • Sang-hyun

MovementsOrg443 karma

Whoa, watching "True Lies," illegally, in NK... there's something bizarrely fitting about that, SH.

JNarciso136 karma

Hi Sang-hyun,

Could you briefly describe what a typical day was like for you in North Korea? What were the greatest hardships? What was the impetus for you to risk your life defecting?

And how does the average person feel about South Korea? About the US? About China? How much do they know about other places around the world?

Thanks for the AmA. Keep up the good work, JJ. Sorry about dem Jets.

MovementsOrg118 karma

Yikes, I've been outed. Sorry we didn't get to this, but check some similar responses: here, here, and here