The Great Escape: Unreported World, C4 14Apr09

Aired on Channel 4, Friday 17 April, 7.35pm: the film I recently made on the remote Chinese – North Korean border… it’s a miserable story about the plight of thousands of North Koreans including women who have been forced into prostitution or sold as brides after fleeing persecution and starvation in one of the most secretive and repressive regimes in the world. If you would like to discuss the issues raised in this film, please leave a comment below and I will do my best to try to answer… click on for film via youtube

Not sure who put this up on youtube, but here it is – broken up into 3 parts:




Full details, reporters Blog & Clips
Some thoughts and clips whilst making this film can be read/seen @ The Unreported World Website

“Unreported World reveals the desperate and horrific stories of some of the thousands of North Koreans who attempt to cross the border into China each year in the hope of escaping one of the world’s most repressive regimes. For those who do make it across, life offers little, if any joy. Unrecognised in China, North Korean refugees are unable to work legally and end up hiding or living in slums and many of the women are often forced to work as prostitutes or sold as wives to Chinese villagers. Refugees live in constant fear of being found out and anyone who informs the police of their whereabouts is offered £20. Those who are caught are sent back to labour camps, tortured or face execution.

Some escapees attempt the 3,000-mile trip to South Korea, a country which welcomes them. One previous escapee, who acts as a broker on the border helping out other North Koreans, tells how those who attempt the journey to South Korea are equipped with chilli powder to throw at guards and a small knife to kill themselves if they are caught before they make it. Of the 300,000 who have fled already, only 5% have made it to South Korea.

This may be one of the most depressing and dark programmes of this compelling series, but if at least one more person learns about the North Korean’s plight, then it will have done it’s job.”
-Rowan Walker – The Observer

Pick of the Day & Critics Choice:
• The Independent• Independent on Sunday:
• Guardian
• The Observer
• The Times
• Sunday Times
• The Telegraph
• Sunday Telegraph
• Mail
• Mail on Sunday

Learn more and find out what you can do:
Amnesty International: China
Amnesty International: North Korea
Human Rights Watch: China
Human Rights Watch: North Korea
North Korean Refugees
Unreported World: Channel 4
BASPIA: for the realization of human rights-based social development in Northeast Asia.

Published Reports:
• Human Rights Watch: Denied Status, Denied Education: Children of North Korean Women in China
• Human Rights Watch: North Korea: Harsher policies against border crossers
• Anti-Slavery International: Forced Labour in North Korean Prison Camps:
• Anti Slavery International: Absence of Choice: the Sexual Exploitation of North Korean women in China

41 Responses to “The Great Escape: Unreported World, C4”

  1. Marianne Says:

    I was wondering if there was any chance that this would be shown in the States? It sounds like a brillant piece (as always) & I am hoping the Discovery Channel or one of those lot will show it….maybe BBCAmerica. I would be ever so grateful if you could e-me an answer.


  2. Tan Says:

    Hello, Olly
    I will be waiting to watch the film and hopefully it will be on channel 4, if not I definitely will serch for it. Never understand why some people would treats woman as we’re not human being with feelling and intelligence. I am Thai and I was born in Thailand. I have heard and read many stories, and I also saw many woman who had been exploited when I was in Thailand. Unfortunately, in that time I was too young to do anything about it. I did not think it was right back then, especialy, when some of them were my age and not even have a chance to be a kid. Don’t ask me how I know them. I don’t think any of my friends nor my family back then even know that I was run around stick my nose in where is not belong. Well, I will watch the film on Friday and write back. I hope you doing well and stay safe, Tan.

  3. Erica Says:

    Hey Olly,

    I’ve been a fan of the your series on the Travel Channel since I love learning about other cultures. Your latest documentary sounds really interesting so I hope I can catch it sometime here in the States. I’d heard about mail-order brides within Asia (although since I haven’t seen your documentary I can’t be sure that you’re talking specifically about that when you say women are sold as wives to men in rural China) but never the danger that North Koreans faced in trying to cross the border. As someone who lives in a state that shares a border with Mexico, I hear a lot about how people risk their lives to cross over, so it would be interesting to hear about others’ dangerous, desperate journeys in crossing other borders around the world.
    Are you going to blog about your experiences in making the documentary? Sounds like it was a dangerous but really insightful process.
    Hope all is well.

  4. Jessica Says:

    Hi Olly,
    I was wondering if the film will be shown in the US? I have been studying the plights that some face in other parts of the world, and I agree it’s an area that needs global awareness. I can’t wait to see the film.
    Safe Journeys

  5. admin Says:

    Thanks for your interest. Not sure at the moment if it will be on in the States but it will be on youtube from Saturday so I’ll post a link. I’m hoping someone will pick it up in the States as we were covering the same story that the 2 American journalists were when they were seized by the North Koreans. We were filming on the same borders (Tumen River) just a few days before them. They’re still being held in Pyongyang and we all hope they’ll be released soon. I’ll post my blogs from the trip once the film has aired. Olly x

  6. anne Says:

    Hi Olly,
    How are you guys? I was really disappointed that i missed the finale episode.But I what I did is I was reading your blog.I mean I was reading all the episode .It was interesting to read from the begining to the end because you understand what was the story all about. My question is do you have an incoming show ?

  7. Tan Says:

    Hello, Olly
    Thank you for telling us that is not going to be air in the States :( I was wondering about the two female American journalists, when you says that you were filming about the North Koreans. I saw the Fox news talked about the two journalists when they 1st got captures, but nothing else lately about them. I hope they are ok. and hoping + wishing they will be release soon too. I’m glad that nothing else is happens to you and your crews on the same borders. ( Are you using your nine lives again?) The news over here (in the States) do talked about the North Korea and the Iran a lots lately, but not much about the two journalists, maybe they are working to get them back home and have to be a hush… hush situation.( That what I’m hoping) Olly, did you have a chance to meet them or know them when you were there filming? Don’t forget about the link from youtube so we can watch it in the States. I’ll write more and hope you don’t mind me posting so many answers + questions. Take care and be safe, Tan.

  8. Mary Anne Says:

    Olly, I hope those of us who live in the United States will be able to see your video soon. It wounds like you endured some difficult situaitons to bring out this story. Here in the States, there was a lot of noise about the two journalists for a while, but it all disappeared very quickly. I hope they are able to get out of North Korea soon. I wonder…is there anything those of us in the States can do to help the North Koreans? Couldn’t they get help in obtaining political asylum in our country? What a terrible existence for them, especially the women. I looke forward to reading your journal entries when you post them. Please keep us informed. And thank goodness, you and your crew are alright, at least I hope so. This story must break your heart. Mary Anne

  9. Paul in Iowa, U.S. Says:

    Way to go Olly, just when we were having fun asking you silly questions about your tribal adventures you hit us with this one. This is a story I knew nothing of and now I’m going to have to find the strength to seek it out. Hope this story doesn’t get lost in the glitter pop culture world of Brittney Spears et al. on what passes as news now a days. I’ll be looking for it on youtube this weekend with a tear in my heart.

  10. Carmen Says:

    I’ll be looking for the YouTube link on Saturday. This is ending up being a very timely piece, not only with the two captured American journalists, but also with the rocket launch and now N. Korea’s announcing it’s withdrawal from the nuclear ban. What a mess. I hope someone picks up your piece here in the States. Were you working with the Americans?

    Take care, Olly. I hope you take some time to decompress after assignments like these.


  11. Gabby Says:

    olly thanks for being such a good role model for me and i want to be just like u and ur kind of hot to just to let u now plz email me sometimes bye gabby

  12. kelli Says:

    You are my hero oliver!

  13. kelli Says:

    By the way…Is there any possible way that you would ever come to the Sierra Nevada Mountains to speek? Sacramento maybe? Would LOVE to hear you!!!

  14. Carmen Says:

    Hi Olly, Just wanted to let you know that we are not able to watch the Channel 4 clips outside of Britain apparently, but were able to read the report and blog. Thank you. Hopefully we will be able to see your report some time soon.


  15. Lissa Says:

    Hi Olly,
    Heart-rending article and blog on the migration of North Koreans. I’m hoping to watch the video as well. Unfortunately, it seems that the clip on the Unreported World website can not be viewed in the USA. If possible please upload the video either on your website or You Tube for the rest of the world to see.

  16. Angela Says:

    Hey Olly, We just viewed your China/ North Korea The Great Escape film Part 1 & 2 on youtube.( Here’s the link for anyone who couldn’t find it Is there a Part 3?

    It was heartbreaking to read your blog and even more so to watch the film. I find it hard to believe that the US doesn’t step in to help. Personally I feel that one of the reasons US government does not step in is because a majority of our products are manufactured in China and they’re afraid of make any enemies. Really, really sad. It’s like Nazi, Gemany all over again. SCARY!

    Couple of questions if you can answer them. How long were you filming in China? How were you able to film without anybody noticing? I’m sure you were scared but what about your family,friends, girl-friend etc.. how did they feel about you going to China under the current situations?

    As usual fantastic job Olly! And yes, your work as a journalist has made and continues to make a difference in my life as well as my family’s life and I’m more then sure many other people’s lives, more then you’ll ever know.

  17. lisa Says:

    Dear Olly,

    I have been without TV by choice for over 25 years and just recently had been tuned in again. The “Adventures of Mark & Olly” are a refreshing hope of what TV can be! Please keep up the excellent work. As a career my husband and I travel for Fair Trade products and I write travel articles. On one such trip to Borneo we stayed at a lodge called the Sukau Rain Forest Lodge. Here we met a very interesting English military veteran who specialized in jungle survival. He peeked our curiosity when he mentioned a special tribe living in the heart of Borneo that had white skin and was feared by all the other natives. Winston was too old to trek them down and find them, but he claimed that they were very interesting magical people. After seeing your show I thought if anyone could find this remote tribe it would be you & Mark! Borneo is still largely unexplored, wild, and has many hidden secrets… it may be another great adventure for your both.

    PS We would like to see the Korean and Chinese show you did. I practice Falun Gong and am well aware of the horrors of such brutal regimes. I have seen the victims of torture first hand. Many of us do endless human rights work to stop these persecutions. It’s hard for the people in free countries to understand that labor camps and torture are still very real in counties like China and North Korea. A show like this has a huge impact when people like you expose these atrocities and the free world people see it and can speak up against it. Everyone’s voice really makes a difference!

    What we need to understand further is that these regimes will never change as people hope for. A well wroth while read is the following:

    I hope you can document and show more of the crafts and personal life of the different cultures you explore. You and Mark are both so patient and kind in all the tough situations you go through!

    Sincerely ,


  18. Ana Maria Says:

    Olly…I read your blog and the article on the Unreported World website. Sadly, there was no way to see your video. When I first arrived at the site and your picture popped up, I was surprised by the haunted look on your face. After watching you all season on Living With The Machigenga and seeing pictures of you on the internet, this was quite a different look for you. I can only imagine how difficult the assignment was, not only to document the suffering of the North Korean people, but to actually put yourself in danger in the process…quite brave of you, I’d say. Perhaps there is something people in the United States can do to make a difference, but they cannot make a difference if they do not know what is going on. I hope you find some way to get this program shown on US television. God bless you, Olly. You are probably struggling to have some peace after doing this story. Please keep us updated.

    Ana Maria

  19. Emb Says:

    Hi Oliver, me and my Korean friend were *wanting to know if this will be findable on YouTube* , we are in America, we couldn’t find a channel, and for whateve r reason we cannot view it on the site you gave, it would surely be appreciated, Thanks much.

    Emb & Seon Jinn Na

  20. Mike Says:

    The BBC showed a programme on the same subject about two weeks ago. Feast or famine, again!
    I was especially interested in your comment about a committee working with the Chinese Government recently suggesting a change in the status on North Koreans in China. This could be a significant development and I was wondering if you have any further information on the committee or the prospect of its suggestion being taken up by the Government.

  21. Angela Says:

    Hi Olly, for some reason my first response to your Noth Korea film never went through, maybe it was the links I attached to it, hopefully this one will go through. After viewing you North Korea film on youtube both my husband and I were left speechless. I’m sure it was a difficult piece for you to cover. Your a good person for risking your own life to help others.

    A couple of questions if you can answer them…..(If my first response gets posted I apologize for the duplicate questions) How were you able to film without being noticed or drawing negative attention to yourself? What did your family and friends think about you going to China under their current conditions?

    The film was very well done Olly, you covered it quite well. It was just really hard to watch I can’t imagine how you have must felt. Well we’re glad you made it back safe and in one piece. Your work as a journalist has made a tremendous difference in our lives and I’m sure other people’s as well. Thanks for all you do, but don’t forget to make some time to play too, it’s just as important!

  22. Sara M Says:


    Yesterday I read your blog and the article on the Unreported World site and have just now seen the story on You Tube. Heartbreaking and harrowing. I was tense the whole time I was watching it. I can only imagine how tense it must have been to do the story. Thank you for the work that you do, bringing this story (and others) to light. As someone who works with Elders, I was especially touched by the piece with the 71 year old woman but it was an image of a child that really sticks with me. The image of the child through the blurry window and the sound of his little hand banging on it. It was ghostly. A fit metaphor for these refugees, they are there, but not really.

    I have to agree with Ana Maria about the haunted look on your face and what a departure it was from the “Tribe Olly” we so often see. I know you said you had taken some R’n'R once you were home, but I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to decompress after an experience like that (and the other non-tribe pieces you have done). I hope you are able to find ways to restore yourself and be able to continue doing the important work that you do. Do take care,
    Sara M

  23. Kelley Says:

    I found about 25 minutes, in 3 parts, on youtube. don’t know if it was longer than that.
    First thing….wow! You are lucky you are not married or have kids, because that kind of a risk that you are taking with your life is immense. When you have a child, you pray going up the hill on a roller coaster that God will bring you back in one piece…:)! The risk you took of going there to tell this story makes eating a fat juicy grub look like candy.
    –Are you an adrenaline junkie?
    –Does common everyday life bore the crap out of you?
    Second thing…I am extremely bothered by the fact that we had the Olympics in Beijing and that was a perfect chance for a journalist to tell this story and expose what is going on here in the states!! Unbelievable and disturbing. I hope you get support for this project and a chance to tell it here on national TV in the states!!! Let us know if we can sign a petition or write to anyone to show our support. You did an amazing job, you should be proud of yourself and your Mom should smack you in the back of the head (after giving you a hug of course) for risking your life like that. You have a passion for people…no doubt! But it’s time for a vacation!!!! Go somewhere and sip a drink with an umbrella in it for a few days!!!!! Please.

    Btown PA

  24. Ana Maria Says:

    Olly…I just finished watching the video on You Tube. Wow! What a piece of investigative work. It’s a difficult story to tell, but you did it and did it well. Congratulations!! Now, I am sure, you need to take a good deep breath before you throw yourself into any more adventures. I agree with Kelley that it is fortunate you do not have a wife and children if this is the kind of work you intend to pursue. Better get this out of your system before you take on a family. If I have the opportunity to speak to anyone that has any kind of influence, I will ask: “How many rice cakes is the life of one person worth?” and then, “Do Something!” I hope you guys left that poor woman a few pounds to help her along. Take care, Aventurero.

    Ana Maria

  25. Reena Says:

    Hi Olly,

    I just saw part 2 & 3 of your China trip but part 1 would not play.
    I guess all of us should thank god for what we have because watching something like this makes me feel very lucky. It is true what they say heaven and hell are on Earth. I will say a special prayer for you to keep you safe.
    I also want your mother to hit you and ask you to settle down now, I can promise you that your wife will understand that what makes her love you is also the type of work that you do and she will not ask you change.
    How do you come back from something like this and not think about it everyday? If you have an answer for that I would love to know.
    I know you are showing the world something that all of us should know about, but in the back of your mind does the question come about that someone may know one of the people you are interviewing and tell the government about them?
    I hope you are enjoying the warmer days and just having fun.

    Wishing you health, happines, love and health.

  26. Carmen Says:

    Nothing I can say really that hasn’t already been expressed above. Truly excellent film, Olly.
    Do you worry, though, that these people will be recognized? They were so brave to be interviewed, but I fear for their safety. (Not to mention yours when/if you return to China in the future.)

    Take care,

  27. Angela Says:

    I have an even greater appreciation of your work with the North Korea film now thatI’ve watched it again. The version you found on youtube is much clearer then the one I originally found.

    Did you compensate the people that you interviewed in anyway for allowing you to interview them? I feel so bad for these people I’m hoping you were able to help them out in some way to thank them for having the courage to share their story with you.

    On a lighter note…..where you able to have tea with any of the people you interviewed, and perhaps, share your cherished Earl Grey with them?

    Great job Olly, we really appreciate your work.

    Be safe

  28. Lissa Says:

    Hi Olly,
    I’m leaving on a trip tonight – nowhere remote, but might have limited time to go online . Thus, I’m glad to have the chance to see the film and post. Thank you for putting it up on your website.

    If things happen for a reason, it’s hard to comprehend the sufferings of the North Korean emigrants. It was disturbing to find out that they would rather take their own lives than to return to their country. Like the other viewer, I was also touched by the little boy. How horrid to be exposed to such environment – to witness poverty, oppression, and fear. … his innocence is lost at a young age. Bless the man who guides the escapees.

    I haven’t heard any updates about the 2 captured female American journalists. I too hope that they get to come home soon. I believe if proven guilty they would be imprisoned for 5 years. How sad. You posted a question on your blog – “Is it worth taking those risks? … Can a report like this ever make the difference to people’s lives? “ How heroic for journalists like you to go to such lengths and most definitely you’re make a lot of difference. But about taking the risk, only you can the answer the question for yourself. Did you know the risks involved prior to taking the assignment? How did the experience affect you?

    If it not too personal, may I ask why are you drawn to China? You went to school there, you did a China Series in 2008, then this film. You also mentioned that Roy Chapman Andrews inspired you as an explorer/adventurer. Are you following his footsteps or is it mere coincidence, that like him you also went to the Gobi Desert and has a lot of interest on China?

    With all due respect, perhaps you’ll consider for your future projects something that’s not gloomy. How about a “story of hope”? To prove that life is still beautiful despite the ugliness that’s going on in the world. Something that you don’t have to risk what’s left of your nine lives…just a suggestion. I’m sure many of us would like to see you do the Tribal show with Mark for many years… I believe there are still 67 more uncontacted tribes to be explored. So please choose your projects wisely.

    May the North Korean emigrants have enduring hope and courage. May their journey lead them to a haven where they can be free. Their story made me truly appreciate my blessings which I sometimes take forgranted.
    Keep safe,

  29. julie Says:

    Hey Olly,
    I just watched the Unreported World story. It is hard to believe things like this goes on in the world. I really don’t understand how one human being could hurt another. I can’t imagine the feeling of not being able to feed my kids and watch them die of malnutrition, how guilty I would feel. Or not knowing what is happening to a loved one.
    That has to be hell on earth because I can’t think of anything much worse to experience than what these poor people are going through.
    Like Lissa, this story does make me appreciate what I have.

    Do you think anything will come from this exposure? Any solutions in the future? Is it possible to save the world from all bad? I hope so……..
    Journalists like you that expose certain wrong doings is a step I guess. Were you afraid for you life at any time? Sure looked very dangerous. You seem like you truly care for people and want to be able to reach anyone who needs a helping hand.

    I love to keep up on your latest projects and will look forward to more.
    One of these days I would like to visit England (you are from England, aren’t you?) as I am fascinated with the history, particularly Anne Bolelyn and that whole era. Hever castle would be amazing to see. Have you ever been?

    Sorry for getting off of the subject, hope you are well!

  30. Kat Says:


    I had no idea such atrocities were going on in North Korea. Thank you for opening my eyes. I am constantly amazed by you and your dedication to bring issues such as this to light. You inspire me to do more with my life and I thank you for that. Please be carefull and stay safe. You have many stories ahead. On a completly different note I thought of you the other day when I heard there was a Marathon Race in the Antarctic. hmmm…from the deserts of the Gobi to the ice caves of the Antartic… might be something there.

    Take Care

  31. Mary Anne Says:

    Hi, Olly. Everything Okay with you? We haven’t heard any replies from you for a while. We always like reading your comments to the bloggers. Hope you are fine.

    Mary Anne

  32. Sara M Says:

    For those who are wondering about the 2 female journalists:

    (I stink at hyperlinks so I hope this worked)

    Sara M

  33. Jessica Says:

    Hi Olly,
    Do you have any speaking engagements booked in the U.S.? I would love to hear you speak about your travels.
    Safe Journeys

  34. admin Says:

    Many thanks to all those who watched the documentary and for your questions. Sorry for the delay in responding to your questions. Here are some answers. O

    Risks? Security? (Angela and others) Yes, we were fully aware of the risks as before making a film like this, we have to conduct a thorough risk assessments before departure, evaluating all possible risks, speaking to primary sources who have had experience of the dangers and working out how to mitigate against those possibilities. This process truly helps focus the mind and drill deeper into the issues we were investigating. From the beginning we realised that the risks to us could be managed but the major danger lay for our North Korean contacts, and what could happen to them if our failures alerted local bounty hunters or authorities to them. Our whole filming approach was designed towards the security of our contacts. Thankfully we succeeded.

    Angela: friends and family think of what I do? Well I think they are worried for me, but understand and accept that reporting on issues, raising awareness on the plight of North Koreans and others is important to do….

    Mike: changing status of North Koreans in China: I first heard about this through a Japanese based NGO: North Korean Refugees: who said that “the Chinese Human Rights Research Committee, which has strong ties with the government, unveiled its plan in a meeting of a national organization of which the deputy chairman of the Chinese National Convention is also a member. The plan, entitled “North Koreans in China: Plan for the Resolution of the Korean Issue,” stated that the following people would be granted legal resident status: 1) North Korean women who have been married to a Chinese man for more than three years, who have a child, and who have been living in a law-abiding manner. North Korean women who live with relatives in China, who could not support themselves if repatriated, and who express a strong desire to remain in China. 2) A North Korean who once was a Chinese citizen1, or whose parents were Chinese citizens, who has returned to China to live”.
    HOWEVER: this it should be noted, as explained in the film, that this is ONLY a plan and as such does not represent a change in policy or approach by the Chinese government. A number of these ‘plans’ are often put around and opened for discussion.

    2 American Journalists: obviously our hearts go out to them and their families and this horrendous time. I think many people are trying to keep this out of the press at the moment to ensure the situation doesn’t escalate further and the women are not used as political pawns in some sort of diplomatic spat. I have every faith that the North Korean government will release them and hopefully soon.

    Lissa: Why China? Simply curiosity at first – because when I was a kid, I learned of this mad place on the other side of the world with hundreds of millions of people in and everyone I asked about it, always said that same thing and it was clear that no one really had a clue. So then I visited it in mid-90s and thought that it would be the place and people who would really affect the changing world during my lifetime, so figured I’d better learn as much about the place as possible – I studied at the People’s University in Beijing as part of my degree and have subsequently lived and worked on and off in China for the past 10 years. Beijing has become my second home, and like home, I now have a love-hate relationship with the place!

    Julie: Any solutions? This is the perennial problem with journalism – does it really make a difference, and if it doesn’t should we bother? I really don’t know the answer to this. Whilst making this film, it was the first time that these questions really struck home – it’s something that you debate and question but it only really made sense when I was putting people’s lives in danger. Is it worth it? I hope so. Advocacy groups say that raising awareness on issues like this, can benefit their work in the short term and long-term as they try and engage public policy initiatives to improve the world. I believe we can all make a difference, life is about choices and if it affects one person who watches the film to do something positive, then that is a good thing.

    lissa: compensation? did we compensate the people we were working with? We have very strict guidelines for reporting with Channel 4 that we should never pay someone for an interview. But obviously when meeting all these people suffering such horror, it is incredibly difficult not to want to do something to help them. On completion of the film, I and members of the crew did certain things to help them and offer support. It’s a touchy subject but this is all I can really say about it.

  35. Reena Says:

    Hi Olly,

    Glad to see you responding to questions, reading your blog makes my commute to the city a lot quicker keep it coming.
    I wanted to say thank you very much for doing what you do. Olly, you do make a difference in peoples lives more than you will ever know.
    I do not know you personally but I feel you do what you do not for the money or for fame but because you want to help others and feed your soul at the same time.
    Jackie Robinson (a famous baseball player) said (not sure if I quoted him correcty) “A single life is not as important as much as the impact it has on ther peoples lives” There are very few people who are blessed with such a gift. I hope you keep on giving.
    Olly, can you let us know what is next in your professional life? I am still waiting to find out if the DVD will be out for the Machigenga.
    I am going to London next month and I may be the one who recognizes you on the street.

    Wishing you health, happiness, love & wealth

  36. Angela Says:

    Hi Olly,

    I’m sure between your personal life, The Beagle Campaign as well as any other projects you are working on you have more then enough to keep you busy, but thank you for always going out of your way to try to answer all our questions we appreciate it and I’m sure everyone else does as well. But you won’t have to worry about answering any of our (my husband and I) silly questions for a while we know your busy.

    Just wanted to let you know that your marathon through the Sahara has inspired us to make a donation to The National Lupus Foundation in honor of myself as well as other Lupus sufferers that may not be as lucky as me. It’s such a worthy cause I wish I could do more.

    Well be sure to check in every now and then and let us know your still alive and share with us any current projects that you are working on. Also we’ve been following the Beagle Campaign a little, good luck with your meeting with the RGS in May, be sure to post the result of that meeting on one of your sites.

    Looking forward to the next Tribe series…..Take care and be safe.

  37. Tan Says:

    Hello, Olly
    Thank you for the Utube’s clips and answer. After watching the clips I have to walk away from my computer, all the emotion has surface at once and it was overwhelming. When I saw the old woman softly caress the wallet that her daughter has gave her before she wer sent back to North Korea, that was so painful to see. The idea of someone is willing to walk from North Korea all the way to Leo or Thailand; It also make me speechless. Many people had die just try to crossed from Mexico into the United States and this is nothing compare to the distance they have to partake to make it to Leo or Thailand. Olly, did you even know how many people or an extimate number of people who is make it all the way? I know that you says, you been living in China on an off for the past 10 years, will this story hinder you from going back to China again? I hope that you did not doubt yourselves about doing this story. I think you are very brave and very noble in trying to help people and letting the world know what happening over there. Keep your faith, you are changing people heart and mind everyday. I will keep you in my pray, Olly.
    Stay safe and take care of yourselve, Tan.

  38. Lissa Says:

    Hi Olly,
    I’m thanking you just now for your answers to my questions because I just got back from my trip last weekend and had to catch up with work and sleep. As a journalist your reports are described to “do not conform to type”. I actually think it’s wise to do so, especially if the goal is to increase public’s awareness of the various injustices endured by the underprivileged or oppressed in different parts of the world. Issues that you care for, whether it be the uncontacted tribes, the coal miners in China, the plight of the North Koreans etc – your dedication in helping others make us your viewers care for them as well. You may face many challenges, but I hope seeing the outcome of your projects and how they positively affect peoples’ lives should make all your efforts worthwhile. So keep up the good work and hope you’ll continue to take us along your journeys through your show and website for a very long time.
    Take care,

  39. Ella Says:

    Hi Olly,

    I’m a Chinese student and I want to help those North Korean refugees because your reporting really struck me. Could you please give me some advice on how I might help them?

    From my humble experience in doing humanitarian work and deal with human rights issues in China, I have a few sparks of ideas right now on how I might be able to help, but I’d love to hear your suggestions. Because of the risk involves here, I would really appreciate if you could kindly reply to my email. Thank you, and thank you very much for this great reporting – it’s an opening-eye experience watching it! I wish you in best in coming adventures!

    peace and love,


  40. Anna Says:

    Hi Olly,
    How are you?
    I’ve not really got much to add to all of the comments above. I just want to say that I think that it takes a special kind of person to do something like this and put themselves at risk to raise awareness of these terrible issues.
    I also want to ask (if its not too personal) how you deal with harrowing experiences like these? And that it must affect you for a long time – do you have any specific ways of winding down?
    I think you are very brave,
    take care

  41. Rosanne Pyne Says:

    loved your piece on north korean woman and their life. thank you for wrinting .hope that you are well and that we all hear from you soon. god bless,
    Rosanne Pyne- U.S.A.

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