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They say fact is stranger than fiction. One book smuggled out of North Korea encapsulates both.
Axar.az reports that written by a dissident writer still living inside the country, "The Accusation; Forbidden Stories from Inside North Korea" is a collection of short stories about the lives of regular people, who live without freedom and under constant scrutiny.
Officially fiction, the book is considered to be a reflection of life under North Korean rule. The author is known simply as "Bandi", Korean for firefly, a pen name he apparently chose himself.
The South Korean activist who helped smuggle it out, Do Hee-youn, tells CNN: "It doesn't deal with political prison camps, or public executions, human rights issues. It shows normal life of North Korea citizens and it is very frightening. This book shows that they live like slaves."
The book was first published in Korean in May 2014, and translated into French in 2015. It was published last month in the United States and United Kingdom and is now available in 19 languages.
Do said he first heard about the manuscript completely by chance. "We heard about a North Korean defector," Do told CNN, "A woman who had been arrested by Chinese border troops... We have been helping such cases in the past so we were helping her and we learned about Bandi and the manuscript."
The woman told them Bandi was a relative and had asked her to smuggle the manuscript out of North Korea when she confided she was planning to defect.
Copies of "The Accusation" translated into different languages are placed next to each other Thursday on the Bridge of Freedom at Imjingak in Paju.
But she was too scared she would get caught with it, Do said. A wise decision as it happens -- she was caught on the Chinese side of the border. If she was carrying the manuscript she would likely have been sent back to imprisonment, or even execution in North Korea.
"It is very difficult to bring a document out of North Korea," Do said. "We have tried in the past and failed but there were a few cases we succeeded."
Do sent a trusted contact into North Korea to make discreet contact with the author.
The hand-written manuscript was then smuggled out in between propaganda books on former leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il.
2017.04.02 / 18:19