In the News – No Orders to Stop Repatriation

In the News – No Orders to Stop Repatriation

Yomiuri Shimbun reported on the 18th that the Chinese government has stopped forced repatriation of the North Korean defectors in China however no guidelines or situations have changed. Rather, crackdowns on the defectors have intensified.

The Japanese newspaper citing a Chinese official revealed, “The Chinese government stopped forced repatriation for reasons that North Korea did not give them advance notice on their long-range rocket launch”. The Shimbun stated, “The Chinese government even after the death of Kim Jong Il in December of last year has repatriated roughly 30 defectors to North Korea everyday”.

But it appeared that the Chinese government, even after North Korea’s announcement of rocket launch last month, has continued to repatriate North Korean defectors. In addition, the Chinese frontier guards and public security officials have been strengthening its inspection and enforcement activities at the North Korea-China border. 

Kim Yong Hwa director of the NK Refugees Human Rights Association of Korea citing the remarks of a Chinese public security official pointed out, “The Chinese government is proceeding as normal with the repatriation with exemptions of women who are married with children with Chinese men in rural areas. The Chinese public officials were displeased that such reports came out when there were no orders directly from the Chinese authorities”.

He explained, “These reports are rather narrowing the moving grounds of the North Korean defectors”, “Currently the crackdowns have not been eased, they are strengthening the checking of identification of the defectors”.

Yangkang Province source revealed, “Last month in Changbai, China, two men and women were transferred to Dandong then through Sinuiji before being repatriated to North Korea”, “The exact number of the defectors repatriated has not been revealed”. The source added, “The reason why North Koreans are not able to defect is because the Chinese are maintaining its forced repatriation policy”.

Activists who support defectors in China said, “As little as three and as many as twenty people were repatriated in the end of March”, “After the missile launch on the 13th, I have not yet confirmed whether forced repatriation is taking place”.

“The armed soldiers on the bus are inspecting and enforcing activities as normal near the North Korea-China border of the three Northeastern Provinces”, “because of this, the movements of the defectors can be seen less and has gotten quieter”.

Last month, Chinese President Hu Jintao at the Seoul Nuclear Security Summit on the 26th and 27th had said, “We will handle deliberately and with much consideration the North Korean defector problem while respecting South Korea’s stance”, which is hard to judge by this statement whether China changed its policy towards North Korea.

Yoon Yeo Sang head of the NGO Database Center for North Korean Human Rights explained, “It is very unlikely for the Chinese government to announce that they will stop forced repatriation of the North Korean defectors when they have ongoing relationships with the North”, “The Chinese government’s change in policy towards defectors is not when they stop forced repatriation but when they stop arresting them at all”, suggesting that there needs to be bilateral and multilateral talks for change in policy.


Original article can be found here.

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