2006 - Winter street in Yanji,
Tumen River running along the border was completely frozen.
Standing on the riverside on the China side we could see
Namyang, North Hamgyong on the other side, in North Korea.
There were lookout posts about every 100 meters. Clearly,
the crackdown on North Koreans attempting to escape into
China has been stepped up even further.
In the year 2005, about 120 North Koreans carrying pass permits
crossed the border bridge into Yanbian, China every day to
visit their relatives or to travel. Many of them are seeking
food. In the winter of 2005, one church in this area attracted
sometimes as many as ten begging North Koreans. Church members
here were deeply distressed because their church would be forcibly
shut down by the Chinese police if the church were discovered
extending protection to the refugees.
January 2006, a North Korean escapee with two children risked
life to reach one of LFNKR’s shelters. They
had been extremely lucky to slip through all the newly installed
detection systems around the border area. The system is designed
to detect signals from cellular phones, without which it is
almost impossible to safely cross the border.
news on the food situation in North Korea
still receives stories about starvation like those heard
back in 1996 to 1997. In one case, steamed bread was reportedly
stuffed with human flesh. In another case, parents exchanged
children with another family to eat them. According to
North Korean refugees we interviewed, the rationing has
been resumed in North Korea after 7 years, and they told
began receiving rations on October 10, 2005. What they
received that day, however, was only about three ears of
some potatoes. Those people who cannot afford to buy food
at markets have no choice but to wait for a bit of corn
women and abandoned children
is now widely known that most female North Korean escapees
have to depend on trafficking brokers to get into China.
Obviously, there is an established system whereby the brokers
bribe Chinese police to secure safe passage into China.
The majority of the sold North Korean women quickly become
and have babies. Sadly, many of these babies are abandoned.
The LFNKR member brought back several reports from one
of our shelters. The following two cases are typical. Both
these victims are North Korean mothers who were ensnared
by human traffickers. Be sure to read the Interview
Relating to this Report.
The case of the mother of 5-year-old Chan Wong-hee