The Democratic People's Republic of Korea is a country in East Asia, located in the northern half of the Korean Peninsula bordering South Korea and China. Its capital, Pyongyang, is the country's largest city by both land area and population. It is a single-party state led by the Korean Workers' Party (KWP), and governed by Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un since 2012. It has a population of 24,052,231 (UN-assisted DPRK census 2008) made up of Koreans and a smaller Chinese minority. Japan 'opened' Korea in 1876 and annexed it in 1910. The Republic of Korea (ROK) was founded with US support in the south in August 1948 and the Soviet-backed Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) in the north in September that year.
North Korean defectors to speak at Hong Kong film festival
Three features, two documentaries scheduled for event next weekend
Mention North Korea to Hongkongers and the first thoughts that pop into their mind are likely about nuclear weapons, the propaganda celebrating its leader Kim Jong-un or perhaps the term "axis of evil" coined during the era of US president George W. Bush.
But few people have a clear understanding of the hardship suffered by the country's 24 million people or the difficulty that defectors face adapting to their new homes.
However, next weekend, two defectors will share their personal experiences at Hong Kong's first North Korea Human Rights Film Festival.
"All tickets for free admission were fully booked in a few days after we made the announcement, and 150 people are planning to attend the event," said Owen Lau Kwun-hang of organiser North Korean Defectors Concern.
The festival will be held in Jordan and will show three feature films: Crossing - South Korean submission to the Oscars for Best Foreign Film in 2008 - Engaged and Traveller from the North .
Two documentaries will also be shown: The Defector: Escape from North Korea and The People's Crisis.
One of the North Koreans who will share his experiences is Kim Kyu-min, co-director of Crossing. Kim, now 39, defected in 1999 but was caught by Chinese authorities and was sent to prison in North Korea.
He defected one more time, through Mongolia, and arrived in South Korea in 2001.
The other speaker is Lee Aram, 25, who used to work in the North Korean police force. Her family members were South Korean military prisoners taken to the North by force. After she defected in 2008, her father was sent to a prison camp and died there.
"Hongkongers are interested in North Korea but they know little about the country's human-rights issues," Lau said. "What we are trying to do is to link up the two by organising soft events like film fests … we would like to organise the fest again next year if we have the funds."