The narratives of women activists highlight the important roles of critical awakening, a sense of responsibility, guilt and moral conscience, reciprocity and caring for others, as well as an altruistic vision for others, all as driving forces for their activism. These findings highlight two major interrelated characteristics: relational and future-oriented dimensions. Founded on these, I present a new theoretical concept that I call ‘Altruistic Political Imagination’, which seeks to describe North Korean women’s human rights activism more aptly than existing concepts around imagination and altruism. This framework is an ongoing development built on my previous work on North Korean human rights activism.
This final chapter provides a recapitulated overview of the book, drawing on all the chapters. It re-emphasizes the significance of activism in improving the lives of North Korean women. It also reinforces the salient contribution of Altruistic Political Imagination in unpacking human rights activism, in conjunction with its potentially wider application to the analyses of other movements and activism. Additionally, it examines what has been achieved so far through the activism of North Korean women abroad, as well as other international endeavours to improve the situations of North Korean women. This chapter further discusses some limitations of the study and makes recommendations for future research.
This chapter examines North Korean women’s individual experiences of grave human rights violations, both inside the regime and after they have escaped to China. The first part focuses on women’s narratives of human rights issues in North Korea, such as domestic violence and sexual harassment. The second part explores women defectors’ experiences during their escape, primarily focusing on human trafficking and forced/voluntary marriages to Chinese men. It also presents the harrowing experiences women endured during and after repatriation to North Korean detention centres. The main argument of this chapter is that North Korean women experience a continuous cycle of oppression throughout their lives, both inside and outside North Korea, owing to the intersection of the deep-seated patriarchal structure of North Korea, the absence of freedom of movement, and China’s treatment of North Korean border-crossers as illegal migrants.
This chapter examines changes and constants in North Korean society since the mid-1990s, when the country faced severe famine. In particular, it investigates the rise of the informal market economy – and its subsequent impact on gender roles – and a large exodus of women to China as a consequence of the economic crisis. The chapter situates the North Korean diaspora within the context of globalization and its implications for North Korean refugees and their human rights. It further discusses human rights debates in North Korea and defector human rights activism outside North Korea.
Recent North Korean diaspora has given rise to many female refugee groups fighting for the protection of women’s rights.
Presenting in-depth accounts of North Korean women defectors living in the UK, this book examines how their harrowing experiences have become an impetus for their activism. The author also reveals how their utopian dream of a better future for fellow North Korean women is vital in their activism.
Unique in its focus on the intersections between gender, politics, activism and mobility, Lim's illuminating work will inform debates on activism and human rights internationally.
This chapter explores the narratives of North Korean women activists about their involvement in human rights activism, including critical awakening and the turning point of their identity from victim to activist. The chapter examines motivating factors for their activism, as well as challenges and strategies. The women’s narratives suggest a strong sense of altruism and concern for other people in similar situations, which have operated as motivators for their activism. In conjunction with this, their imagination of a better future for fellow North Korean women (and children) has become the driving force behind their activism. The chapter further discusses their plans from an operational perspective: what possible collaborations and works could be undertaken?
This chapter examines methodological considerations, focusing on ethical issues and the challenges of studying North Korean women defectors and their human rights issues. It applies a critical feminist approach. The chapter begins with a phenomenological method, linking to the life history and power of storytelling. Due to the risk of potential repercussions that defectors and their families face from the regime, as well as the sensitive nature of the topic, the study raises several ethical concerns. In addition, the dynamics between a woman researcher of South Korean heritage and North Korean women defectors poses methodologically important questions. Reflecting upon these, the chapter discusses the complex dynamics between insider and outsider, knower and enquirer, in a critical manner.
The rivalry between the US and China has expanded beyond the borders of either state to include competing for influence abroad. In the past, great power rivalry played out in both constructive and destructive ways in the Global South. However, the starting point of this chapter is that in order to understand the extent to which US–China rivalry impacts Africa in negative or positive ways, it is important to unpack the main areas and tools of influence that China has advantage over the US in. This chapter focuses its analysis on party-to-party diplomacy as an area of China’s foreign policy making in Africa, which is characterized by a relational approach centering mechanisms of social/human capital and professional network-building. This relational, network-building, approach is one of the fundamental differences between China’s approach in Africa and that of the US. The latter’s presence in the continent has mostly been focused on counterterrorism efforts while China has invested in relations with elites, government officials, and civil servants. Even more, as scholars of relationality and guanxi have argued, building social capital and putting a premium on expanding personal and professional networks between Chinese elites and their African counterparts are vital to understanding both the advantages and pitfalls of Chinese foreign policy making in Africa. Taking into account the global picture of China–Africa relations and building on robust scholarly work done in the field, this chapter starts from the observation that China’s presence (its influence and power) in Africa comes not only from Chinese investments in physical infrastructure buildings (as seen in the construction of ports, parliaments, and presidential palaces) but that it is also produced and manufactured through the creation of platforms for exchanging expertise which also serve as elite capture mechanisms.
The nature of US–China relations is changing and evolving in a new direction, with past differences becoming more acute while new areas emerge, such as the Arctic region, intensifying the US–China security dilemma. The rapidly changing climate and subsequent “opening” of the Arctic has given rise to China’s emergence as a major influence within the region. This chapter discusses how abrupt climate change, in combination with Chinese actions in the Arctic, could create unpredictable black swan events that undermine US and regional security. This chapter provides an analysis of China’s Arctic objectives using black swan and weak signal theories as well as the methodology of horizon scanning technique. Finally, it highlights possible scenarios of China’s impact on the Arctic in the future
This chapter describes competing advocacy frames that emerged around the 2010 elections in Myanmar. Representatives of the democracy movement called for an election boycott, stating unfair conditions for the opposition, whereas other civil society actors viewed the elections as an opportunity to discuss politics and contribute to political change. Both actors engaged in voter education to highlight their positions, and both tried to influence international audiences to either support or reject the 2010 elections. For democracy activists, it was more difficult to lobby, as their message to boycott the elections and their attempts to influence the election outcome were sometimes seen as contradictory. The elections took place under highly restrictive circumstances in 2010 and were won by the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party. In the aftermath, some democracy activists shifted focus to new campaign issues, calling for a UN Commission of Inquiry into crimes committed by the Myanmar military.