Thursday, October 22, 2009

China forces POW relatives back to North Korea?

Reuters is reporting that Choi Sung-yong, a prominent advocate of the rights of ROK civilians kidnapped and POWs not allowed to return to South Korea, has said that two North Korean refugees who were holed up in a motel in Shenyang have been captured in a Chinese sweep and repatriated to the DPRK.

The pair are reportedly the daughter and granddaughter of a South Korean POW who successfully fled North Korea eight years ago. Apparently, if what Mr Choi is saying is correct, the ROK consulate in Shenyang is so crowded with refugees that the consulate cannot house them all, which makes those who can't stay within the sovereign ROK territory within the consulate walls quite vulnerable.

Needless to say, Choi is not happy with this turn of events, though this case might highlight the plight of the people he is trying to help:
"China deserves to be condemned for this, but they do it over and over," said Choi, a well-known campaigner for the return of civilians abducted by the North and prisoners not returned after the 1950-53 Korean War. South Korea puts the number of such people at more than 1,000.

China sees the North Korean defectors as economic refugees and forcibly returns them to the North, where they face life-threatening conditions in the country's brutal prisons.
We saw this kind of thing happen during the Roh Moohyun administration, whose diplomatic corps in China was criticized for its gross mishandling of some of the refugee cases. It would be an embarrassment for the Lee Myungbak administration if they haven't rooted out such incompetence and carelessness when it comes to North Korea refugees trying to reach South Korea (or anywhere else besides China):
Choi said blame also rested with the South Korean government for failing to protect the refugees and ensuring they were brought to the South.

South Korea's Foreign Ministry denied that anyone who sought asylum with its consulate in Shenyang had been put up in a motel.

"It's not true that some were made to stay at a motel because we were short of facilities at the consulate," ministry spokesman Moon Tae-young said but declined to comment further on the case.
Hopefully the money being pledged to expand Hanawon (more on that in an upcoming post), the facility tasked with resettling North Korean refugees, will help ease the pressure on the diplomatic facilities teeming with these desperate people.

Hanawon was set up during the Kim Daejung administration and expanded during the Roh Moohyun administration. In addition to their efforts to help North Korean refugees resettle, these two administrations each took in more North Korean refugees than all previous administrations combined, yet they are condemned as being soft on Pyongyang vis-à-vis the refugee issue. Tom Conyer, a blogger whose views I respect, today even said that Kim DJ and Roh MH were "notorious in underfunding N Korean adjustment programs" even though they were the ones who set up and expanded Hanawon and took in so many more refugees than their predecessors.

Aigo. Rant off.

Anyway, it wouldn't be a kushibo post on China's culpability in blatant humanitarian catastrophe if I didn't end with the following:
I've said it before and I'll say it again: China is not your friend.
Next time you're in Walmart or E-Mart, look for "Made in India."

1 comment:

  1. "Next time you're in Walmart or E-Mart, look for "Made in India."

    Yeah, but I don't like how they treat Pakastanis, Bengalis and Sri Lankans.

    I say we only buy products from the Grand Dutchy of Freedonia! They have never hurt anyone... I think...


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