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Video: Kim Young Hwan’s Press Conference at the Seoul Foreign Correspondents’ Club

August 13, 2012

Kim Young Hwan held a press conference at the Seoul Foreign Correspondents’ Club (SFCC) on August 6, 2012. The former Juche promoter-turned North Korean human rights activist answered questions about the torture he received in China, being denied consular access for 29 days, his plans now that he is free, the South Korean government’s actions during and after his detention, what he was doing in China, his visa while there, what he sees happening in North Korea under Kim Jong Un, why he suspects North Korea was involved in his case, the underground movement for democracy in North Korea, etc. In the video Kim and some others speak in Korean, but English translation is provided.

Kim Young Hwan and three other North Korean human rights activists were detained in China for nearly four months until being freed July 20, 2012. For more information, click here.

Contents of video:

00.00 – Introduction and Background

04.57 – Introductory remarks from Kim Young Hwan

11.58 – Q & A with Kim Young Hwan

11.10 – Question:
What exactly were you doing in China? What exactly will be your next steps? Are you happy with the level of support you are receiving from the South Korean government?

18.23 – Question:
When you were detained in China, what was the detailed charge against you? Was there a legal basis for arrest? How many times have you visited China? When you were detained there were three more activists with you. Which type of visa did they have? Who are those in North Korea who are responding to your NK Human Rights activities?

27.07 – Question:
What treatment did you experience during your detention in China? Would you characterize it as physical abuse or as systematic torture? Would it have been possible to give evidence of this abuse after you came back to South Korea? Can you clarify about your visa, since I was under the impression that China only gave single-entry visas, whereas you had a multi-entry visa?

34.20 – Question:
What information was the Chinese government trying to get from you? What questions were they asking you?

37.40 – Question:
When you were being interrogated, were you asked for information about your supporters and other organizations in China?

39.08 – Question:
Have you seen any positive or negative changes post-Kim Jong Il’s death in terms of North Korean human rights violations? Do you think there may be a positive outcome in this area if we give some time to Kim Jong-Un?

45.21 – Question:
Why haven’t you had the physical examination before now? Without that evidence, how optimistic are you that you can bring the Chinese government to account?

50.31 – Question:
Have you specifically asked the South Korean government for help with special equipment and expertise (for a physical examination)?

52.53 – Question:
Do you think that your (prior political) activities are the reason for the media attention surrounding your torture case? Did you confess to the Chinese regarding your supporters in China?

1.00.20 – Question:
Please tell us more about your plans to raise this issue in international organizations, as well as your plans regarding a lawsuit against the Chinese government.

1.02.22 – Question:
On what grounds did you make the judgment that North Korean agents are involved?

1.21.00 – Question:
What do you think was the most important reason for your release from China? Is it true that the Chinese released you in exchange for the release of a Chinese citizen arrested and held in Korea?

1.30.13 – Question:
Did you receive threats to your security, and who do you think is issuing these threats? Are you satisfied with the reaction of the South Korean government? If not, what would you like from them? It has been heard that a condition of your release was that you do not speak about the torture you received. Since you’ve been back in South Korea have you had any word from the Chinese government regarding this?

1.38.18 – Question:
If it’s the case that there is a pro-democracy movement in North Korea, then what is the motivation for you attracting publicity in such a high-profile manner? Surely this would compromise those in North Korea engaged in pro-democracy activities?

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