The Price of Freedom

Christina Kim risked everything to escape North Korea’s entrenched gender violence. She almost didn’t make it.

Each morning, when the adults went to work for the regime, the children stayed home, warmed by coal. One day, a house nearby caught fire, with a boy inside. Kim watched the father race into the house and emerge with his most valuable possessions: a portrait of then-Supreme Leader Kim Il-Sung and another of his first wife, Kim Jong-Suk. The child never came out.

The Underground Movement Trying to Topple the North Korean Regime

Adrian Hong says he leads a group of “freedom fighters” conducting a revolution. Has the U.S. already betrayed them?

On the afternoon of February 22, 2019, a tall Asian man rang the doorbell of the North Korean Embassy in Madrid. His business card identified him as Matthew Chao, an investor from Baron Stone Capital, with offices in Toronto and Dubai. Once he was allowed in, nine men in their twenties and thirties, carrying pellet guns, knives, and metal bars, entered. They covered their faces with black balaclavas, tied up four staffers with zip ties and handcuffs, and herded them into a meeting room, before taking a senior Embassy official to the basement. His wife and his eight-year-old son were put in a room on the first floor.