Saturday, January 14, 2006

Gripping exposé Seoul Train

With its riveting footage of a secretive underground railroad, Seoul Train is a riveting documentary about the life and death of North Koreans as they try to escape their homeland. Seoul Train is the definitive exposé into this growing and potentially explosive humanitarian crisis.

By combining vérité footage, personal stories, and interviews with experts and government officials, Seoul Train depicts the flouting of international laws by major countries, the inaction and bureaucracy of the United Nations, and the heroics of activists who put themselves in harm's way to save the refugees.

Today, there are an estimated 250,000 North Korean refugees living underground in China. They escaped a food crisis and other persecutions at home that have claimed the lives of approximately 3 million in the past 10 years. As the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) stands idly by, the Chinese government-in direct violation of international laws to which it's a party-systematically arrests and forcibly repatriates hundreds of these refugees each month.

Defecting from North Korea is a capital offense, and repatriated refugees face human rights abuses ranging from concentration camps and torture to forced abortion and summary executions. For a lucky few refugees, however, there is hope. A group of multinational activists has taken it upon themselves to create an underground railroad. Via a network of safe houses and escape routes, the activists-at great personal risk-help the refugees in daring escapes to freedom over thousands of miles of Chinese territory.

As if the current problem were not bad enough, estimates are that upon the fall of Kim Jong-il's regime, millions of refugees will flood into China across the shallow Tumen and Yalu rivers that divide the two countries.


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