North Korean defector Grace Jo fled North Korea after almost starving to death as a child under the country’s socialist regime. Now, she’s trying to warn students across the country that socialism is “terrible” and should not be promoted, amidst politicians that say otherwise.
Jo, now 30 years old and studying interior design in the U.S., joined the Dissident Project in a quest to tell as many students as possible about the dangers of socialism, she told the Daily Caller in an interview. Her father and two brothers died from starvation under the North Korean regime, and her older sister went missing while going to China to look for food.
“Socialism sounds beautiful, but it’s a terrible system, because my family starved to death, and not only my family, but 2.5 million people died” from starvation, being beaten and frostbite, Jo said, adding that she hopes students learn as early as possible and make the “right decision for the country” when they’re older.
Socialism is not “freedom friendly,” Jo continued, saying socialist politicians are thinking about “more military power” and the “government power and leadership,” over supporting individual people.
“There are many, many people trying to escape my own country, but they can’t, because the government control is so severe,” she added.
The Dissident Project, through which Jo is a speaker, is an initiative that lets teachers invite speakers from socialist countries to speak about their experiences at no cost to the schools. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Immigrants Travel To Schools With Warning: Socialism Is Deadly)
Jo became a U.S. citizen in 2013 after fleeing North Korea as a refugee in 2006 with the help of a pastor. She attempted to escape the socialist regime several times and was repatriated by the Chinese government, after which she was imprisoned, according to the Dissident Project. Her mother and one of sisters were tortured when they were repatriated four times back to North Korea.
Very few escape North Korea. This Seattle-area pastor rescued hundreds. https://t.co/bkFCpypWjl
— Grace Jo (@GraceJo8) October 26, 2019
“That’s how socialism works, everyone needs to follow one government, ideology policy, and whoever violated that rule, you would just get punished severely,” she said, adding that the punishment for stepping out of line was imprisonment, labor camps or political camps.
Jo wants the students that she speaks to to understand that “we never should promote socialism,” she said, and is worried that politicians in the U.S. are doing just that.
The school curriculum does “not go deep enough” into what socialism is, and “testimonies from [survivors] would bring more depth,” Jo added. America “never experienced that horrible socialist system controlling the level of freedom” and that’s why young people might “make the wrong decisions.”
An October Gallup poll found that 38% of Americans had a positive impression about socialism.