Up from North Korea | National Review

Source: National Review - View Original Article
Published: Apr 30, 2020
Bias Rating:

94% Liberal

Bias Score Calculation:




99% "He is effortlessly charismatic.""
98% "Gangnam is a district of Seoul, the capital city, famous for wealth and glamour.""
97% "He was especially moved by the deaths of that mother and son, who starved in their apartment.""
95% "North Koreans will hear about Ji's election, and have.""

We have listed the top 10 sentiments. More sentiments do exist. Please review the full article for more information.

*Our bias meter rating uses data science including sentiment analysis, machine learning and our proprietary algorithm for determining biases in news articles. The rating is an independent analysis and is not affiliated nor sponsored by the news source or any other organization










Contributing sentiments towards policy:

99% : He is effortlessly charismatic. "
98% : (That piece appeared in our July 8 issue.)
98% : Gangnam is a district of Seoul, the capital city, famous for wealth and glamour.
97% : Their election reverberates on both sides of the border.
97% : He was especially moved by the deaths of that mother and son, who starved in their apartment.
95% : But the North Korean government considers anyone who leaves a defector: a traitor to the state.
95% : They also think that his government is hostile to them, the defector community.
95% : He is an urbane, elegant fellow.
95% : Last year, at the Oslo Freedom Forum, I asked him about his personal security.
95% : North Koreans will hear about Ji's election, and have.
94% : Because Thae and Ji are North Korean defectors.
94% : They had been denied government assistance.
94% : The anthem speaks of "the great Korean way."
94% : The other defector who won election this year, remember, is Ji Seong-ho.
94% : The nation will see their faces on TV -- and this will "humanize us," says Park Yeonmi.
93% : And "I know this will go on till the last day of the Kim regime."
93% : Park Yeonmi says that Thae's election sends a powerful message to North Korea, and particularly to North Korean elites -- to Thae's former colleagues in the diplomatic corps, for example, who may be wavering on whether to jump.
92% : He has his ear to the ground, in both North and South.
92% : And it was in this atmosphere that Thae Yong-ho and Ji Seong-ho stood for office.
92% : The North Korean government called him "human scum" and accused him of the usual: embezzlement and child rape.
92% : He also said that he thought his historic election would prove "the first step toward reconciliation, harmony, and unification" between the two Koreas.
92% : Ji was born in 1982.
91% : At the end of my conversation with Thae himself last year, I asked, "Do your former colleagues and other North Korean elites admire you, secretly?"
91% : Sounding like presidents past, Trump said, "Seong-ho's story is a testament to the yearning of every human soul to live in freedom."
90% : Henry Song is a human-rights defender based in Washington, D.C.
90% : But in the South? These things and assorted others pushed defectors into the streets, protesting their government.
89% : For many years, he has worked with North Korean defectors.
88% : I talked about this with Park Yeonmi, one of the most prominent defectors, in 2014.
88% : He is strongly anti-socialist and anti-Communist, and a sharp critic of Moon Jae-in's government.
86% : He is the first North Korean defector ever to be so elected.
86% : Last year, the government secretly repatriated two North Korean fishermen who had asked for asylum.
86% : His grandmother starved to death; his father was tortured to death -- a typical North Korean story.
84% : Their election was "truly a historic, seismic, shocking event," says Henry Song.
84% : ) I have spoken with her since the election of Thae and Ji. "The South Koreans treat us like second-class citizens," she says.
84% : The Left in South Korea bitterly resents defectors, especially ones who squawk about human rights and what they suffered back home.
84% : In 2012, Gangnam became known all over the world when Psy, the pop artist, released his song "Gangnam Style."
83% : By many, the defectors are regarded as nuisances, obstacles to peace, stirrers up of trouble.
83% : Thae was born in 1962, into the North Korean elite.
83% : The message is: You can succeed in the South, if you take the risk.
83% : He was a neutral, above the fray.
82% : Do you want war?
82% : He is also tremendously brave.
82% : The news is "shocking," as Henry Song, the D.C.-based activist, emphasizes: one of them -- a typical, downtrodden North Korean, and handicapped, at that -- elevated to the legislature in a free country.
82% : A free and Korean country.
81% : But nothing was more interesting than the election of Thae Yong-ho and Ji Seong-ho.
81% : When news came that Thae and Ji had been elected, there was jubilation in the defector community.
81% : There is great sympathy for the North Korean regime in South Korea, Thae has found.
80% : "It will forever be a mystery to me.
79% : I will mention but three.
79% : Nothing so offends the defector community as a repatriation, especially a secret one.
79% : In 2018, Ji Seong-ho was a guest of President Trump for the State of the Union address.
77% : It has always been considered the spiritual home of the Korean people.
76% : In the South Korean context, he is a conservative, favoring a market economy and a tough-minded policy toward the North -- a realistic one, he would say.
76% : I have met Ji several times and have never seen him without a big smile on his face.
76% : Together, Ji Seong-ho and Thae Yong-ho give hope to the North Korean minority in South Korea.
75% : They will take their seats when the new Assembly convenes on May 30.
75% : They can recite a string of grievances and indignities.
75% : Diplomats have a greatly privileged position, a position beyond the imagining of ordinary North Koreans.
75% : He's one of us," says Yeonmi.
75% : Once in South Korea, he became a Christian and started a human-rights group.
74% : The government has severely cut aid to refugee groups and refugees themselves.
74% : He defected in 2016.
73% : A defector mother and her six-year-old son were found starved to death in their apartment.
73% : Routinely, people starve to death in North Korea.
72% : The South Korean government knows that I am No. 1 on the assassination list."
72% : The truth is, Ji Seong-ho was never very interested in politics, in a partisan sense.
71% : Mount Paektu is way up in what is now North Korea, on the border with China.
71% : I have given the barest facts here, but I think Hollywood should make Ji's life into a movie.
68% : Despite the best efforts of the North Korean dictatorship, news dribbles into that country, via shortwave radio and other means.
67% : He is the second defector to be so elected.
67% : But where is the compassion for persecuted, suffering Koreans?"
66% : There are scattered others elsewhere.
66% : There is ample testimony on this score: no.
66% : In his victory speech, Thae called Gangnam his "hometown."
65% : People who have left North Korea think of themselves as having defected from the state that claimed ownership of them, body and soul.
64% : In any event, "defector" is the word commonly used in English, although "escapee" or "refugee" will do as well. Do South Koreans welcome their brothers from the North with open arms?
63% : On April 15, South Korea held a parliamentary election.
63% : Ji was elected by method of proportional representation.
62% : Yes, she says.
62% : The "East Sea" refers to the Sea of Japan.
62% : About this, his fellow defectors are very, very excited. "
62% : He escaped from North Korea on homemade crutches.
59% : The circumstances of this episode are murky.
59% : "I have a lot of worries," he said, "but I am heavily protected when I am in South Korea.
59% : Thae Yong-ho beat his opponent -- an experienced politician who had served four terms in the Assembly -- by a wide margin.
57% : At the playing of the national anthem, he shed tears.
56% : I ask Yeonmi whether South Koreans can distinguish North Koreans by their speech.
56% : Also by their height: "We are three to four inches shorter than they are, because of malnutrition."
55% : You can imagine how distressing this is for a defector.
55% : The anthem -- whose words were written in the 1890s -- begins, "Until the day when Mount Paektu is worn away and the East Sea runs dry, may God protect and preserve our country!"
54% : In the last few years, they have grown restive, politically.
54% : It could hardly be less North Korean.
53% : They are more sympathetic to people in Africa than they are to their fellow Koreans from the North.
53% : He said, "Of course."
52% : But he was pushed into politics by the grievances and indignities that I mentioned, or alluded to, above.
51% : I asked, "Do you know this for sure?"
49% : Thae Yong-ho -- the new assemblyman -- made this clear to me when I interviewed him last year.
47% : He was a street kid, a homeless kid, a wretch -- who will take his place in the prestigious National Assembly of South Korea.
46% : But there was also this:
45% : " North Korean defectors face just the same.
44% : (My piece on this extraordinary young woman was published in the November 17 issue of National Review that year: "Witness from Hell."
43% : The word "defector" confuses some people, understandably, because we are used to thinking of a defector as a government official or celebrity -- a ballet dancer, let's say -- who goes over from an unfree country to a free one.
42% : This was the highest turnout for a parliamentary election in South Korea since 1992.
42% : He said yes.
41% : The first was Cho Myung-chul, an economics professor, in 2012.
40% : But they know that they can be imprisoned or killed at any time.
39% : They have seen it happen to their colleagues repeatedly.
38% : "I can't help thinking he is happy to be alive."
37% : There were many interesting things about this election -- not least that it was held during a pandemic.
37% : Thae ran for the National Assembly in one of the most conservative constituencies in South Korea -- one of the three constituencies of Gangnam.
36% : He projects an air of ebullience," I once wrote.
35% : Electoral officials took a number of precautions, requiring that voters wear masks, etc.
33% : I think of a phrase from the final stages of the Cold War: "to poison the atmosphere of détente.
33% : " If you brought up abuses behind the Iron Curtain, for example, people might say, "Why are you poisoning the atmosphere of détente?
33% : They regard the incumbent South Korean president, Moon Jae-in, as soft on North Korea.
29% : He himself lost a leg and a hand when he passed out on a railroad track from hunger.
27% : That community numbers 33,500 in South Korea (a country of about 50 million).
27% : He became a diplomat, eventually serving as deputy ambassador to the United Kingdom.
26% : And that turnout was high: 66 percent.
26% : Thae was elected directly, in a constituency.
26% : What does she mean?
9% : There's nothing wrong with compassion for Africans or other people.
9% : They suspect him of naïveté and worse.

*Our bias meter rating uses data science including sentiment analysis, machine learning and our proprietary algorithm for determining biases in news articles. The rating is an independent analysis and is not affiliated nor sponsored by the news source or any other organization

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