Voice from the Commonwealth Commentary, World Views and Occasional Rants from a small 'l' libertarian in Massachussetts
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An ex-spy for North Korea talks about what made her defect.
At the age of 28, Ma was recruited by the secret police, which were under the direct control of the North Korean National Defense Committee. "I don't know why they picked me," Ma said. "They might have thought I wouldn't look suspicious abroad since I was playing music."
Ma started to travel between Pyongyang and Beijing every month, carrying secret espionage directives to the North Korean Embassy in Beijing and bringing intelligence reports back to Pyongyang.
Fearful of being followed and constantly on the lookout for a tail, Ma said she never felt relaxed. She never dared to look inside the sealed documents. "I was too frightened to do so," Ma said.
While in Beijing, Ma came to realize how unusual the North Korean system was. "Despite embracing the same socialism, people in China had much more freedom," Ma said. "I never felt hungry in the North, but I began to feel a strong anger over the country where you could not say what you really wanted to, and you always had to worry about what other people would think about you."
Ma also questioned the North Korean government's all-out propaganda efforts.
"I was always told only a handful of people enjoy an affluent life in enemy nations like the United States and Japan, but that was not true," Ma said. Having faced this reality, Ma developed a strong desire to be free.
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