In the News – Protests for N.Korean Defectors Sent Powerful Signal

Aside

In the News – Protests for N.Korean Defectors Sent Powerful Signal

Protests across the street from the Chinese Embassy in Seoul that began in February against Beijing’s forced repatriation of North Korean defectors came to an end on Monday. It had been 77 days since the protests began with a press conference by conservative Liberty Forward Party lawmaker Park Sun-young on Feb. 13 calling on Beijing to stop the repatriation of 24 North Korean defectors who were caught hiding in China.

Residents of the neighborhood complained about inconvenience as the demonstrations dragged on, and police and the Jongno District Office also requested that they end.

At first, the protests did not gain much attention. Then on Feb. 21 Park began a hunger strike and actor Cha In-pyo showed up with around 50 teenage North Korean defectors, drawing widespread attention to the demonstrations. Lee Ae-ran, the first North Korean defector to earn a PhD in South Korea, took the baton from Park and carried on the hunger strike, followed by other prominent officials. Continue reading

In the News – China Halts Repatriation of N.Korean Defectors

Aside

In the News – China Halts Repatriation of N.Korean Defectors

The Chinese government has halted the repatriation of North Korean defectors, apparently in response to South Korean requests and because it is angry that the North went ahead with its rocket launch.

The Yomiuri Shimbun on Wednesday cited an official from China’s Liaoning Province as saying China, which had been repatriating up to 30 North Korean defectors a day since the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il in December, recently stopped doing so.

“North Korea failed to inform China of specific plans to launch its missile last Friday,” another Chinese official told the Japanese daily, which added that Beijing’s anger at being kept in the dark played a role in the decision to stop the repatriations. “Although it is unclear when Beijing stopped repatriation, it is certain no more defectors were sent back to North Korea,” the paper said. Continue reading

In the News – Boney M urges Beijing to be lenient on N. Korean defectors

Aside

In the News – Boney M urges Beijing to be lenient on N. Korean defectors

SEOUL, April 17 (Yonhap) — A lead vocalist of the well-known disco group Boney M said on Tuesday that North Korean defectors detained in China should be given a chance at freedom, calling for Beijing to show leniency.

“There should be some kind of leniency, giving these people (defectors) a chance to live a life they have chosen,” Liz Mitchell said at a press conference in Seoul before playing a concert on Saturday.

Boney M’s three other members also showed support for North Korean defectors, according to Howard Kim, the manager of the concert organizer. Continue reading

In the News – Disco group Boney M to show support for N. Korean defectors

Aside

In the News – Disco group Boney M to show support for N. Korean defectors

SEOUL, April 16 (Yonhap) — The well-known disco group Boney M plans to show support for North Korean defectors who face repatriation in China during their visit to Seoul this week for a concert, the event organizer said Monday.

The four-member vocal group, which achieved massive popularity during the disco era of the late 1970s, is scheduled to play a concert in Seoul Saturday and will donate part of ticket sales to a local defectors group, according to Howard Kim, manager of concert promoter Btechnic.

“Boney M thought the issue of forceful repatriation of North Korean defectors is in line with the philosophy of their songs,” Kim said, adding the group will hold a press conference in Seoul Tuesday to urge Beijing not to repatriate defectors detained in China.

Some 100 North Korean defectors are reportedly in detention in China and face deportation back to their communist homeland, where it is feared they will receive harsh punishment and even execution, according to a South Korean lawmaker.

At the height of their popularity, the group released “By the Rivers of the Babylon” in 1978, which became the second highest selling single in British chart history. The song, which was also Boney M’s only U.S. Top 40 hit, is about freedom for the oppressed.

“Boney M is scheduled to visit the Chinese Embassy (in Seoul) Wednesday to show support for defectors who are on a hunger strike and participate in a candelight rally (against forceful repatriation),” Kim said.

Defectors and activists have been staging hunger strikes to protest against Beijing’s policy of repatriation in front of China’s mission in Seoul. Most recently, high-profile South Korean lawmakers have joined the rallies.

Original article can be found here.