Many North Koreans have tried to escape the horrors of their homeland by defecting into other countries, but the majority have been unsuccessful. Countries like China refuse to accept North Koreans who escape into their country as refugees. They catch the escapees and send them back to North Korea where they are sent to work camps or executed. China sends back nearly 300 North Korean refugees every week. As a result protests have been started by numerous countries against this policy.
Other countries like South Korea and Japan readily accept the refugees and South Korea even provides them with safety and an “allowance” to live off of until they are stable. Many humanitarian groups around the world help fund the programs that aid the refugees. If you wish to help some refugees look in the “How You Can Help” tab for a link to one of the groups websites.
Another rope holding the oppressive government of North Korea in power is the brutal punishment. All over North Korea are located “labor camps”, which are basically just concentration camps, where North Korean “political prisoners” are held. Political prisoners are anyone in the country that criticize the government or are “suspected” of criticizing the government. Because the government rewards “loyal” citizens, though, people are constantly turning each other in falsely to seem loyal. One of the worst things about it is, when one person is charged, they don’t just charge that single person, the officials of North Korea will arrest that person’s entire family a generation above and a generation below if possible. They claim they must “cleanse” the problem. This leads to terrible over crowding in the camps.
The camps themselves are horrendous places where survival is a battle against starvation. People eat things like rats, frogs, snakes, insects, and even their own feces in order to survive. In the account of a man who escaped one of the camps and North Korea he reported of the terrible living conditions. Families in the camps are forced to turn on each other for food to live. Blaine Harden wrote a book of the man that escapes account on his life in the camp. The following link talks about the book if you’re interested. http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/04/06/life-in-a-north-korean-labor-camp/