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"China sends people back to this place"

"Q: What kind of comparisons can be drawn between Asia’s underground railroad and the one in pre-Civil War America? A: The way it’s set up is similar. The safe houses and transit routes are kept secret and vary a lot. There is another similarity in that many of the people who operate on the underground railroad are ethnically Korean, just as many of the operators on the original underground railroad were free blacks." -- an interview with Melanie Kirkpatrick, author of Escape from North Korea: The Untold Story of Asia's Underground Railroad
posted by bardic on Dec 13, 2012 - 10 comments

The Plot Sickens

South Korea has one of the world's highest suicide rates (previously). The phenomenon has been acute in the entertainment world. In the past two years, over ten Korean celebrities (mostly actors, actresses, and singers) have taken their own lives. Most of them were under 30. The latest death was that of 26 year-old actress Jang Ja-yeon, star of the popular comedy-drama "Boys Over Flowers." Initial reports stated that Jang's death was yet another in a tragic line of Korean celebrities succumbing to depression due to the pressures of stardom and (according to one foreign commenter) the inability to "admit that there is a lot of intense depression and mental illness in Korea." But there's also an emerging twist in Jang's death. Her suicide note has been found, and it turns out that her death wasn't due to relative intangibles of depression and mental illness. In fact, she was allegedly being beaten and raped by various higher-ups in the Korean entertainment business, and the names of the guilty are beginning to come out (one of whom has apparently fled to Japan).
posted by bardic on Mar 15, 2009 - 39 comments

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