South Koreans Protest China’s Plan to Repatriate North Koreans

Posted February 18th, 2012 at 3:45 pm (UTC-5)
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Protesters have rallied outside the Chinese embassy in the South Korean capital against Beijing's plans to repatriate 33 recent refugees from North Korea.

Some of the protesters Saturday in Seoul carried banners and chanted slogans asking for the release of the North Koreans, who were arrested after crossing the border into China.

North Korean defector Hue Kang-il says that if these people are returned, they will be publicly executed or sent to a labor camp.

“If they are sent back to North Korea, those 33 people will be executed in public or spend the rest of their lives in a political prison camp, fearing for their lives. Also I think, an unspeakable crime of killing their families of three generations is taking place in North Korea.”

South Korean opposition lawmaker Park Sun-Young said China has ignored the international human rights laws by sending North Korean refugees back home and that South Korea must work to prevent forcible repatriations.

“We Korean people are responsible for North Korean defectors not to be repatriated to North Korea forcibly. China have ignored the international human rights laws, U.N. resolutions and U.N. agreements, and have repatriated North Korean defectors to North Korea forcibly — that is an inhumane and immoral behavior, especially by one of G2


Activists say the North has strengthened border security and toughened punishment for refugees since Kim Jong-Un took over from his late father, Kim Jong-Il, in December.

The South's Foreign Ministry and human rights groups have urged Beijing not to send fugitives back against their will.

China treats North Koreans found on its soil as economic migrants and sends them back across the border.

More than 20,000 North Koreans have fled to South Korea since the 1950-1953 war. Almost all of them escape to China, hide out and then travel to a third country to seek resettlement in South Korea.