photographe : Katharina Hesse
CHINA : NORTH KOREAN BORDER
CHINA - OCTOBER 19: Kim Jeong-Ya ( a pseudonym), 67, poses in a house near the North Korean border October 19, 2002 in China. This person belongs to a handful of Chinese human rights activists groups, who dedicate their lives to helping both North Korean defectors and abducted South Koreans make safe passage from North Korea to South Korea via mainland China. While foreign activists are simply expelled from China if caught during a rescue mission near the border, local Chinese face severe punishment. For Kim's activities, which are considered strictly illegal in China, Kim has been imprisoned twice and beaten up by North Korean agents residing in China. Relatives of Kim who did the same kind of support work "disappeared" in North Korea. Since Kim's release from jail last June, Kim has been under severe police surveillance. Kim meager life savings were confiscated and Kim is not allowed to leave her home in China. While traveling on business inside North Korea in early 2002 (before Kim went to jail for the second time), the activist stayed with the family of a North Korean Kim had met in China. Kim says "they were destitute; the children had no shoes and were clothed in rags. The family had no blankets and the concrete floor of the building they occupied had no mats-the family had sold everything to buy food." Such experiences let Kim continue her work despite the danger. Usually North Korean defectors are returned to N. Korea.