Crossing Heaven's Border

Crossing Heaven's Border

by Hark Joon Lee


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From 2007 to 2011 South Korean filmmaker and newspaper reporter Hark Joon Lee lived among North Korean defectors in China, filming an award-winning documentary on their struggles. Crossing Heaven's Border is the firsthand account of his experiences there, where he witnessed human trafficking, the smuggling of illicit drugs by North Korean soldiers, and a rare successful escape from North Korea by sea.

As Lee traces the often tragic lives of North Korean defectors who were willing to risk everything for their hopes, he journeys to Siberia in pursuit of hidden North Korean lumber mills; to Vietnam, where defectors make desperate charges into foreign embassies; and along the 10,000-kilometer escape route for defectors stretching from China to Laos and to Thailand.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781931368360
Publisher: Brookings Institution Press
Publication date: 02/18/2015
Pages: 250
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Author, reporter, and documentarian Hark Joon Lee was a war correspondent in Afghanistan and managed online news outlets. He is currently an investigative reporter with the Chosun Ilbo Crossmedia Team. Lee has received an array of accolades for his work, including being the first Korean to be nominated for an Emmy award.

Table of Contents

Foreword Gi-Wook Shin ix

Introduction Bradley K. Martin xi

Preface to the English Edition xxiii

Prologue: Confessions of a Timid Journalist 1

1 On the Border 7

2 Drug-Smuggling North Korean Patrol Boats 27

3 The Human Safari 39

4 A Ten-Thousand-Kilometer Trek 53

5 The Naked Slave Trader 77

6 Nighttime at the Border 91

7 Tears in Xiahe Village 103

8 The Parting of Sisters 119

9 Tears Run Hot, Even in Siberia 133

10 The Woman with Three Names 155

11 Musc 171

12 A Friend-Turned-Spy? Reporters-Turned-Heroes? 187

13 The Smuggler's Ship 201

14 Momentary Happiness, Prolonged Misery 217

15 The Crossroads between Three Borders 239

16 Vietnam 255

17 Do You Know the Meaning of Fear? 267

18 Tuwoo, the Human Smuggler 287

19 Reunion 301

20 A Flight of Angels 315

21 North Korea's Offline Social Network 329

22 Epilogue 347

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