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확대축소프린트
 양사랑
China is Driving North Korean refugees to death
제 131 호    발행일 : 2012.03.30 

 As the number of North Korean refugees in China is estimated at 100,000, China decided to send back the refugees to North Korea (NK) by force from February 8 to 14. Accordingly, public opinion against sending refugees back to North Korea is rapidly spreading domestically and overseas. Even though some civil groups such as North Korean refugee groups in South Korea and Christian groups have continually demonstrated against this situation since long ago, it has not been politicized. This problem has attracted many people and formed angry public opinion because Kim Jung-un, the son of Kim Jung-il and NK's current leader, declared that refugees who flee North Korea during the 100-day mourning period of his father's death would be annihilated along with their families.


 Demonstrations throughout the nation are continuing every day after people heard that refugees would be sent back to North Korea. Many parties and individuals are participating in protests such as hunger strikes, which were started by Park Sun-young, a member of the National Assembly. Concerts have also been held by Cha In-pyo and other Korean entertainers to oppose sending refugees back to North Korea, and political demonstrations have also become prevalent.


 Seok Gyeong-ae, a North Korean refugee, spoke out against this situation,“The Republic of Korea government must actively help to oppose sending back North Korean refugees without forgetting that South and North Koreans are brothers of the same blood.” Miss Hwang, a Nowon-gu resident, said, “Nothing is more powerful than human rights. For that reason, I cannot concur with this problem on any account. China must help North Korean refugees in going where they want.”


 Oppositional petitions about repatriating refugees to North Korea are proceeding online and offline apart from direct protests. Furthermore, the ROK (the Republic of Korea) government raised this problem as an official item in UNHRC (United Nations Human Rights Council). Hereupon, UNHRC dealts with North Korea’s human rights by opening a discussion session with the UN North Korea special rapporteur on human rights in Geneva, Switzerland on March 12.
The international society had disagreed about repatriating refugees to North Korea before this problem became an item in UNHRC. USA President Obama mentioned this problem to Hu Jintao, the Chinese President, by directly making a call. Oppositional protests took place in USA, Germany, Japan and other countries. Problems regarding North Korean refugees' human rights have become a worldwide problem in addition to a national problem for South Korea, a Korea-China problem and a North-South problem.


 China sent back all refugees to North Korea at the end of last February despite widespread condemnation. It is noticeable that China determined to eject 31 North Korean refugees to North Korea within a month of their arrest. When controversy about repatriating refugees to North Korea occurred in the past, China repatriated refugees to North Korea after waiting for the situation to die down.


 About these actions of China, Kim Gyu-ho(46, an executive committee of Escape Refugee Save Network) said, “We will continuously protest and be active for tens of thousands of North Korean refugees who still remain in China until China stops sending back refugees to North Korea.” He said, “the embassy of the Republic of Korea in China should make it possible for North Korean refugees to freely enter the Embassy by tearing down the Embassy’s wall. Furthermore, the ROK government should devise solutions about this problem by protecting refugees whenever they request protection and providing legal identity via procedures such as issuing ROK passports or travel licences.”

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