A North Korean defector who attended Columbia University says she sees similarities between the indoctrination in anti-Western sentiment and political correctness in American schools and those in the brutal dictatorship from which she escaped — adding that at Columbia, “they are forcing you to think the way they want you to think.”
Yeonmi Park was 13 when she and her mother fled North Korea in 2007, a voyage that took them to China and into the hands of human traffickers before being rescued by Christian missionaries.
They ended up in South Korea, and Park, now 27, transferred from a school there to Columbia in 2016.
“I expected that I was paying this fortune, all this time and energy, to learn how to think. But they are forcing you to think the way they want you to think,” Park told Fox News. “I realized, wow, this is insane. I thought America was different but I saw so many similarities to what I saw in North Korea that I started worrying.”
She was scolded by a university staff member during orientation when she acknowledged enjoying classic literature like Jane Austen.
“I said, ‘I love those books.’ I thought it was a good thing,” she said.
“Then she said, ‘Did you know those writers had a colonial mindset? They were racists and bigots and are subconsciously brainwashing you,’ ” Park said, recalling what she was told.
Her classes were filled with anti-American sentiment, she said, that reminded her of life in North Korea.
Park said North Korea students were constantly informed about the “American Bastard.”
“The math problems would say, ‘There are four American bastards, you kill two of them, how many American bastards are left to kill?’ ” she recalled.
Park also said she was flummoxed by the use of preferred gender pronouns in her classes at Columbia.
“English is my third language. I learned it as an adult. I sometimes still say ‘he’ or ‘she’ by mistake and now they are going to ask me to call them ‘they’? How the heck do I incorporate that into my sentences?” she said.
“Even North Korea is not this nuts,” she said. “North Korea was pretty crazy, but not this crazy.”
Eventually, Park “learned how to just shut up” so that she could get good grades and graduate.
But Park, who grew up in the last Stalinist dictatorship and witnessed people dying from starvation, said Americans don’t know oppression.
“These kids keep saying how they’re oppressed, how much injustice they’ve experienced. They don’t know how hard it is to be free,” Park said. “I literally crossed through the middle of the Gobi Desert to be free. But what I did was nothing, so many people fought harder than me and didn’t make it.”
Park, who chronicled her escape from North Korea and life in the repressive regime in the 2015 memoir “In Order to Live,” said American students are not being taught to think critically.
“The people here are just dying to give their rights and power to the government. That is what scares me the most,” she said.
“In North Korea I literally believed that my Dear Leader was starving,” she recalled, referring to Kim Jong Un. “He’s the fattest guy — how can anyone believe that? And then somebody showed me a photo and said, ‘Look at him, he’s the fattest guy. Other people are all thin.’ And I was like, ‘Oh my God, why did I not notice that he was fat?’ Because I never learned how to think critically.”
“That is what is happening in America,” she added. “People see things but they’ve just completely lost the ability to think critically.”
She said the situation in North Korea is one thing because the people don’t have access to the internet and are not exposed to great thinkers, but in America, students have access to all the information they seek.
“You guys have lost common sense to a degree that I as a North Korean cannot even comprehend,” Park said, adding that the future on this course holds a “Communist paradise.”
“Where are we going from here?” she said. “There’s no rule of law, no morality, nothing is good or bad anymore, it’s complete chaos. I guess that’s what they want, to destroy every single thing and rebuild into a Communist paradise.”
Columbia University did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment.