Just imagine you’re a North Korean living in a small village. You have no one to compare your condition with. One day, you hear about people who’ve fled to China who are now well off. Some even go to South Korea, a place you know about from smuggled DVDs. You know that if caught, you could be sent to prison and beaten by guards. If successful, such migration promises a better life. In most North Korean migration cases, negative push factors such as absence of political freedom and economic opportunities in North Korea combine with positive pull factors in China of food, temporary shelter by NGOs and Christian missionaries, chances to go to South Korea and refugee status. These push and pull factors, together with factors that facilitate irregular migration, form a self-organizing complex adaptive system, analogous to osmosis in biochemistry. Unlike molecules, however, humans have conscience, norms and identities.
Asian Studies | Political Science
Asia Pacific Memo
Institute of Asian Research at University of British Columbia
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SONG, Jiyoung, "The complexity of North Korean migration" (2013). Research Collection School of Social Sciences. Paper 1460.
Available at: http://ink.library.smu.edu.sg/soss_research/1460
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