China's Two-Faced Policy
Current Background - July 2002
China Must Stop Repatriating North Korean Refugees
North Korean Defectors in China Face Repatriation
"Beijing, July 20 (Yonhap) - A group of North Korean
defectors being held by Chinese authorities in the area
bordering Mongolia are likely to be repatriated, diplomatic
sources here said Saturday.
The defectors, along with the South Korean missionary aiding
their attempt to reach the South, 46-year-old Cheon Gi-won,
have been held since Dec. 29 in a Chinese prison."
We at Life Funds for North Korean Refugees (LFNKR) just
received the above urgent information.
The Chinese authorities have apparently decided to deport to
South Korea Cheon Gi-won, who was engaged in assisting North
Korean refugees. However, the thirteen North Korean refugees
are almost certain to be sent back to North Korea. These
thirteen refugees were arrested at the same time as Cheon Gi-
won, and are now being held in Manzhouli Prison in Inner
Mongolia autonomous region.
The authorities involved must not be allowed to do this. The
Chinese government has clearly stated to the international
community that they will address the North Korean refugee
issue in light of domestic law and international law and
from a humanitarian standpoint, and that they will treat
fairly escapees from North Korea who wish to defect.
Whether the escapees from North Korea seek asylum in foreign
embassies in China or try to cross the Chinese border to
escape from North Korea into other countries, they are
essentially defectors. The current practice by Chinese
authorities is to reluctantly recognize only those who have
managed to seek asylum in foreign embassies or those people,
including missionaries, who have been reported on by the
international press. Meanwhile, they are repatriating any
North Korean refugees arrested near that country's border.
This is illogical and significantly deviates from common
Any North Korean refugees repatriated to North Korea are
very likely to be imprisoned in concentration camps or
political prison camps where they face the harshest of
From the humanitarian viewpoint, the Chinese authorities
must equally grant all escapees from North Korea the
defection they request.
We at LFNKR are fully aware that the Chinese authorities are
officially emphasizing their humanitarian attitude wherever
activities are disclosed to the international community.
Meanwhile, however, they continue their ever more harsh
crackdown on North Korean refugees and any local people
helping those refugees in the far areas of China where
information is hard to gather and difficult to report to the
international community. This is obviously a double
standard. International society must not accept this
expedient, two-faced policy by China.
China must immediately stop its crackdown on the North
Korean refugees and the local people helping them.