Timothy Cho is a North Korean human rights activist and two-time defector. He has been imprisoned four times in North Korea and China.
Cho’s parents fled North Korea during a period of famine known as the “Arduous March”, abandoning him to become a homeless member of the “hostile class”, constituted of families of regime defectors.
Cho first tried to follow them aged 17, escaping into China before being forcibly repatriated to North Korea. After his return he was imprisoned and brutally tortured by the regime. His scars still show.
Yet Cho still tried to escape again, this time reaching Shanghai before being deported to the Philippines. From the Philippines he continued his journey to find a democratic life, eventually settling in the UK.
Since arriving in the UK he has received a BA in International Relations and Politics from the University of Salford and an MA in International Relations and Security from the University of Liverpool. He joined Fiona Bruce MP as an aide from 2018-19, and currently works as an Inquiry Clerk at the UK All-Party Parliamentary Group on North Korea. He stood for election in the English local elections of May 2021.
Looking back, Cho says: “what I remember of my experience of living in this totalitarian regime was that I didn’t know who I was, what choice I had, what I loved, and what my dream was. The past years of my life in democracy have helped me to discover who I am, what I love and care about, and what I stand for – our intrinsic democratic constitutional values of freedom of faith, expression, speech, and opportunity.”