Our second show for the day is the critically acclaimed documentary Seoul Train (featured on PBS) which offers a look at the estimated 250,000 North Korean refugees living underground in China today, who have braved untold dangers to escape a food and humanitarian crisis that has claimed the lives of 3 million back home. The camera follows several groups of North Korean refugees, some have chosen to forcibly make their way past the gates of the Japanese embassy in Beijing, others have chosen to attempt to send in a formal application to be recognised as refugees at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and yet others have chosen to make their way to Mongolia, in the hopes of eventually getting to South Korea, their promised land. If they are arrested, the Chinese government (which sees them as illegal economic migrants and not refugees) will certainly repatriate them to North Korea where they will face punishment and execution. It also offers a fascinating look at what’s been called the Underground Railroad, a covert network of multinational cells of relief workers, activists and volunteers including a South Korean pastor, Chun Ki-won, who’s been dubbed the Asian Schindler. This show is amazing in the way it acquaints the viewer with the complexity of the issue, taking into account a wide range of divergent views, and even taking on the UNHCR for its supposed compliance with the Chinese government. Till today, the UNHCR has not saved a single North Korean refugee.
Previously on Shanghaiist Sunday Show
Tibet Refugees on 101 East, Al-Jazeera
Chinese Film Odyssey
Children of Blessing
The Unseen China
Brits Get Rich in China
Know of any other feature documentaries that you’d like to share with readers on the Shanghaiist Sunday Show? Email us at info AT shanghaiist DOT com!