14th Annual North Korea Freedom Week April 23-29: Preparing for Regime Collapse and Peaceful Unification Washington, D.C.
NKFW 2017 Acknowledgements and Report (PDF)
It is our great honor and pleasure to present to you the acknowledgements report for the 14th annual North Korea Freedom Week. NKFW’s success was a direct result of the many individuals and NGO leaders who make it happen and the powerful witnesses we hosted for the week. Honestly, it was very hard to proceed forward this year without our beloved co-chair, Kim Seong Min, founder and director of Free North Korea Radio. We found out not long before NKFW of his serious illness, and we ask everyone to continue to pray for his complete healing. Fortunately, Seong Min had already inspired and raised up a such tremendous delegation of leaders and eyewitnesses to participate in NKFW that everything went full speed ahead on the Korea side. On the USA side, we are very grateful to the many individuals and NGO leaders that hosted events, presented as expert speakers, and participated in the sessions that made their visit meaningful and successful.
NKFW 2017 was an amazing week. This year we had three events for the first time: the World Congress of North Korean Defectors hosted by South Korea’s Ambassador for Human Rights Jung Hoon Lee; a North-South Unification Concert featuring musicians from North and South Korea hosted by George Washington University THiNK, and a spirited demonstration at CCTV (the Central Chinese TV station) decrying Xi Jinping’s cruelty to refugees and ongoing support for the Kim regime.
Because our theme this year focused on regime collapse and preparing for peaceful unification, we explored several new topics during the week: how to save the prisoners in North Korea’s political prisons organized by the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea and hosted by GW THiNK; how to rescue North Korea’s orphans organized by the Isabella Foundation and hosted by Georgetown THiNK; and how the defectors are utilitizing information to end the Kim regime organized by the Defense Forum Foundation and hosted by Members of Congress.
While we were at first disappointed that we were not able to secure a Congressional hearing as in the past (Syria was main focus of Congress that week: too many dictators, not enough time!), we got something so much better: a roundtable discussion with 14 Members of Congress hosted by Congressman Ted Yoho focused on how the defectors are getting information in and out of North Korea. The heartfelt comments and sincere questions by the Republican and Democratic lawmakers during the roundtable were deeply touching and showed how much American lawmakers care about the people of North Korea. Though it was a private session, Congressman Yoho instructed the Free North Korea Staff in attendance: “Please tell the people of North Korea we are meeting you during North Korea Freedom Week to show our care for the people of North Korea!”
We also got the opportunity to hand deliver to Congressmen Ed Royce and Chris Smith and to Senator Ted Cruz’s staff the portraits made of them secretly by two brothers in Pyongyang, North Korea, who listen to the Free North Korea Radio broadcast. These two brothers risked their lives to make these beautiful handwoven silk portraits and to send this message: “please tell the American politicians there are some people in a dark place who still have hope.” You can well imagine how much the lawmakers were moved by these two brothers’ heartfelt gesture.
This physical evidence of just how important the flow of information is to North Korea was a central theme of NKFW: The Truth Will Set Them Free was articulated numerous times by the delegation. In fact, nearly the entire delegation worked for organizations directly involved with getting information in through radio broadcasting, balloon launches, and smuggling in USBs, shortwave radios, cell phones and Notetels.
In addition to participating in these many public events and meetings with Members of Congress, the delegation also met with Department of State staff, National Security Council staff, the Congressional Execuive Commission on China staff, and met privately with Trump appointees serving the President at the State Department and at the White House.
The daily broadcast of Free North Korea Radio was expanded in April AND May so that the people of North Korea would learn about all the events. The FNKR staff worked nearly 24 hours a day, attending events all day and then preparing the broadcast at night for the people of North Korea to hear.
Please enjoy these photos and acknowlegements of the North Korea Freedom Week 2017.
Until They Are FREE,
Suzanne Scholte and Choi Jeong Hun
Co-Chairs, North Korea Freedom Week 2017
Defector NGO leaders
Choi Jeong-hun (Chair) (Free North Korea Radio & North Korea People’s Liberation Front)
Hu Kang-il (Committee for the Democratization of North Korea)
Han Jin-myung (NK Intellectuals’ Solidarity)
Cha Ri-hyuk of NKPLF
Lim Hye-jin of New Korea Women’s Alliance
Park Sang-hak of Fighters for Free North Korea
Park Jung-oh of Keun Saem Education Center
Han Gee Hee of Free North Korea Radio
Ji Seong-ho of NAUH (Now, Action, Unity, Human Rights)
Kim Keun-woo of NAUH
Paek Yosep of Future Korea
Jinhye Jo of NKinUSA
Grace Jo of NKinUSA
Special Witnesses and Performers for Events and News Coverage
Park Ms. (FNKR Editor)
Noh Ms. (FNKR News caster)
Kim Ms. (FNKR Editor)
Myeong Sung-hee (Soprano)
Kim Cheol-woong (Pianist)
Kim Ji-young (FNKR Reporter)
Choi Jeong-ho (Keun Saem Education Center)
Major Grant Donors Supporting NKFW 2017
Ambassador Jung Hoon Lee and the Yonsei Center for Human Liberty
Defense Forum Foundation
Free North Korea Radio
Dr. Jai Ryu
Reverend Phillip Buck
Dr. Thomas Chung
Timothy and Janice Haahs
Peter Kang and the Korean Freedom Alliance
Soon Ja Ji
Dr. Pavel and Susan Klein
Woo Joo & Sukyong Koh
Ms. Marguerite Lause
Dr. Tai Lee
Honorable Tidal W McCoy
Dr. In Young Park
Dr. Ok Cha Soh