'Even North Korea is not this nuts': Defector accuses US universities of pushing anti-Western sentiment, PC culture

Yeonmi Park's family fled North Korea in 2007.
Yeonmi Park's family fled North Korea in 2007. Photo credit: Getty Images

A North Korean defector has slammed the United States saying she thought it was a country of free speech but after going to university she's changed her view. 

Yeonmi Park's family fled North Korea in 2007. She lived in China for two years before moving to South Korea in 2009 and settling in the US in 2014. 

Park, 27, transferred to Columbia University in 2016 to study a bachelor of arts. But she said she was immediately struck by what she called anti-Western sentiment and a focus on political correctness in her classes. 

"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 realised, 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."

Park said she grew concerned after she was scolded by a staff member because she likes Jane Austen books. 

"I said 'I love those books.' I thought it was a good thing. Then she said, 'Did you know those writers had a colonial mindset? They were racists and bigots and are subconsciously brainwashing you'," she told Fox News. 

Park claimed the university was full of anti-American propaganda and every problem was blamed on white men. 

She also raised issues with gender-inclusive language being used in the classes, telling Fox News it was hard for her because English isn't her first language. 

"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?"

"It was chaos. It felt like a regression in civilisation. Even North Korea is not this nuts. North Korea was pretty crazy, but not this crazy."

She said after many arguments she "learned how to just shut up"' to get good grades and graduate. 

Park compared the culture at the university to North Korea, accusing US educational institutes of stripping people's ability to think critically.  

Park fled North Korea with her mother after her father was arrested for illegal trading and subjected to hard labour.

Human traffickers helped them cross the border to China where they were helped by Chinese and South Korean missionaries. Two years later Park's father managed to escape to China but died a year later from cancer. 

Park and her mother then fled through Mongolia to get to South Korea before moving to the US.