|Birth Day:||October 4, 1993|
|Height||Weight||Hair Colour||Eye Colour||Blood Type||Tattoo(s)|
She first recognized the strict politics of North Korea after watching a pirated DVD of the film Titanic. It was after this "taste of freedom" that she began to question the oppressive policies of her home nation.
Park was born on October 4th, 1993, in Hyesan, Ryanggang, North Korea. Her father was a civil servant who worked at the Hyesan town hall as part of the ruling Workers' Party, and her mother was a nurse for the North Korean Army. Her father later established a metal smuggling operation in the capital, Pyongyang, where he spent most of the year while his wife and daughters remained in Hyesan. Her family was wealthy by North Korean standards during most of her childhood, although the family later struggled after her father was imprisoned for engaging in an illegal business. Park has an older sister, Eun-mi.
One of the traffickers threatened to report Park and her mother to the authorities if Park didn’t have sex with him. Her mother intervened for her safety by offering herself to the trafficker. In October 2007, Park sent word to her father and arranged to smuggle him into China. There, he was diagnosed with inoperable colon cancer.
In January 2008, while the family was living in secret, Park's father died at forty-five years old. The family was unable to formally mourn him, fearing that they would be discovered by Chinese authorities, and buried his remains in the ground of a nearby mountain. Park said, “There was no funeral. Nothing. I couldn’t even do that for my father. I couldn’t call anyone to say my father had passed away."
When reunited with his family, Park's father urged the family to plan their escape to China. Unfortunately, her older sister Eunmi left for China early without notifying them. Park and her family feared that they would be punished for Eunmi's escape, so they escaped North Korea by traveling through China with the help of brokers who smuggle North Koreans into China. Chinese and Korean Christian missionaries helped them relocate to Mongolia, and South Korean diplomats facilitated the family's transition into Seoul. After this harrowing journey, which concluded in 2009, Park became a full-time activist for human rights in North Korea.
In February 2009, after receiving aid from human rights activists and Christian missionaries, Park and her mother journeyed to Mongolia to seek asylum from South Korean diplomats, traveling through the Gobi Desert.
When they reached the Mongolian border, guards stopped them and threatened to deport the pair back to China. Park recalls that at this point she and her mother pledged to kill themselves with their own knives. “I thought it was the end of my life. We were saying goodbye to one another.” Their actions persuaded the guards to let them through, but they were placed under arrest and kept in custody at a detention center at Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia. On 1 April 2009, Park and her mother were sent to Ulaanbaatar’s Chinggis Khaan Airport to fly them to Seoul. Park felt relieved to be free at last; the Daily Telegraph reported, "'Oh my God,' she thought when Mongolian customs officials waved her through. 'They didn’t stop me.'”
Park and her mother had difficulty adjusting to their new lives in South Korea, but they managed to find jobs as shop assistants and waitresses. Park also continued her education in Dongguk University in Seoul. In April 2014, South Korean intelligence informed Park that her sister, Eunmi, had escaped to South Korea via China and Thailand. Park and her mother eventually reunited with Eunmi.
Park moved to New York City in 2014 to complete her memoir while expanding her role as an activist. She attended classes at Barnard College and then applied and was accepted to the Columbia University School of General Studies, starting there in the Fall 2016 semester. As of November 2016, she was majoring in economics.
Park has also become a member of LiNK (Liberty in North Korea), a nonprofit organization that rescues North Korean refugees hiding in China and resettles them in South Korea and the United States. On June 12–15, 2014, Park attended LiNK’s summit at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California. Park and North Korean activists Joo Yang and Seongmin Lee worked in sessions and labs, informing participants of conditions in North Korea and of how LiNK can support refugees from North Korea. Park took part in LiNK’s campaign, the Jangmadang (장마당).
Park has also been outspoken about tourism in North Korea, as visitors are encouraged to bow to statues of Kim Jong Il and Kim Il Sung, which she sees as "[aiding] the regime’s propaganda by allowing themselves to be portrayed as if they too love and obey the leader." She was selected as one of the BBC 100 Women in 2014 and is a member of the Helena Group.
Currently, Yeonmi Park is 27 years, 9 months and 21 days old. Yeonmi Park will celebrate 28th birthday on a Monday 4th of October 2021.
Find out about Yeonmi Park birthday activities in timeline view here.