News / Asia

Protesters Call on China to Stop Forced Repatriation

South Korean activists stage a protest outside the Chinese embassy in Seoul urging Beijing to stop repatriating refugees who flee hunger or repression in North Korea. About 30 activists including former refugees chanted slogans like "Stop forced repatriat
South Korean activists stage a protest outside the Chinese embassy in Seoul urging Beijing to stop repatriating refugees who flee hunger or repression in North Korea. About 30 activists including former refugees chanted slogans like "Stop forced repatriat
TEXT SIZE - +

Activists concerned about the plight of North Koreans are holding demonstrations in front of Chinese embassies and consulates in several countries Thursday. They want Beijing to end what they term is a brutal policy of sending refugees back to North Korea. They say those repatriated face certain torture and imprisonment and, in some cases, execution.

Several dozen refugees from North Korea gathered outside China’s embassy in the South Korean capital to demand the safe resettlement of those, like themselves, who fled their homeland.

The demonstrators chant “Protect the North Korean refugees” and “Stop forced repatriation.”
Some activists waved banners accusing China of “aiding murder” and called on the country to respect international law as a member of the United Nations Security Council.

After 30 minutes, police informed the participants their event was illegal. The small demonstration quickly ended and people dispersed without incident. Among the defectors at the protest was Seo Jae-pyoung, secretary general of the Committee for the Democratization of North Korea. He says his 24-year-old nephew, suffering from tuberculosis, died in a Chinese refugee camp two weeks after being apprehended while crossing the Tumen River.

Seo says China, as the world’s number-two economic power and a country advocating peace and equality, needs to consider the plight of the North Koreans who are crossing the border with a “do or die” mentality.

Rights groups want China to allow the North Koreans to safely resettle, with the assistance of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.

More than 20,000 North Koreans have made new homes in South Korea and other countries.
Activists say there are tens of thousands of North Koreans hiding in China. Most of them are women, who rights groups say also risk being victimized by sex traffickers in China.

Women are vulnerable in other ways says Peter Chung, a pastor who runs the organization Justice for North Korea.

Chung says children of mothers who are sent back to North Korea by Chinese police remain in China. They are being raised by people who do not have the financial resources or the physical ability to care for them.   He says these children continue to be malnourished.   
The North Korea Freedom Coalition, based in the U.S. state, Virginia, says it planned the coordinated international protest because Beijing has not responded to requests by several governments, including the United States and South Korea, to stop the forceful repatriation of the refugees.

Under an agreement between Beijing and Pyongyang, those entering China from North Korea are treated as economic migrants rather than refugees whose status is recognized by the United Nations.

Other activities planned Thursday to draw attention to the plight of the North Koreans include demonstrations in New York, Chicago, Toronto and Tokyo, film screenings in Mexico City and a prayer vigil in Los Angeles.

The Korean peninsula has been divided since a devastating three-year civil war in the early 1950’s that ended with a ceasefire, but no peace treaty. North and South Korea have no diplomatic relations.

You May Like

Photogallery Pope's Easter Prayer: Peace in Ukraine, Syria

Pontiff also calls for end to terrorist acts in Nigeria, violence in Iraq, and success in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians More

Abdullah Holds Lead in Afghan Presidential Election

Country's Election Commission says that with half of the ballots counted, former FM remains in the lead with 44 percent of the vote More

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid