Hyeonseo Lee

My escape from North Korea

12:15 •
Filmed Jan 2013 at TED2013
  1. Facebook
  2. Twitter
  3. Email
5.6M views

As a child growing up in North Korea, Hyeonseo Lee thought her country was “the best on the planet.” It wasn't until the famine of the 90s that she began to wonder. She escaped the country at 14, to begin a life in hiding, as a refugee in China. Hers is a harrowing, personal tale of survival and hope — and a powerful reminder of those who face constant danger, even when the border is far behind.

Hyeonseo Lee
/ Activist

As a child growing up in North Korea, Hyeonseo Lee thoght her country was the "best on the planet." It wasn't until the famine of the 90s that she began to wonder. She escaped the country at 17-years-old to begin a life in hiding as a refugee in China. Hers is a harrowing, personal tale of survival and hope — and a powerful reminder of those who face constant danger, even when the border is far behind.  Full bio.

TED Talks are free thanks to support from