NK News reviews "Crossing Heaven's Border"

chinank railwaybordercrossing
A railway border crossing between China and North Korea. Flickr/Robert Pratten

Writing for NK News, Rob York reviewed Crossing Heaven’s Border (Shorenstein APARC, 2015), a book written by Hark Joon Lee, a South Korean journalist and filmmaker.

A project that began in 2007, the book is a firsthand account of the challenges facing North Korean defectors. Lee, reporting for the Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo, initially published the stories as articles, and later as a documentary on the Public Broadcasting Service in 2009.

“Lee has written a gripping account of his time among the escapees, seeing sights few people will and seeing through a lengthy stint (from 2007 to 2011) in which the possibility of arrest – and even death – were distinctly possible," York writes.

The book, now available in English, details the experiences of North Korean defectors in China as illegal immigrants seeking news lives and in South Korea as new citizens navigating unfamiliar territory, and would-be defectors who remain in North Korea finding ways to survive.

“Lee’s lengthy account…presents a full range of humanity among these refugees,” York writes.

The review is available on the NK News website.