Crisis Looming Over 2008 Beijing Olympics

China Tries Silencing 4 South Korean Lawmakers

Beijing, January 12, 2005 — Four South Korean lawmakers were harassed while attempting to hold a press conference in Beijing (see the lawmakers’ statement below), when the meeting was halted by a group of men in plain clothes who refused to identify themselves.

Our organization, LFNKR, is deeply shocked that the international press conference hosted by the four South Korean lawmakers in Beijing yesterday was violently interrupted.

These SK lawmakers, Kim Moon-soo, Choi Byung-gook, Bae Il-do and Park Seung-hwan, were attempting to make a request to the Chinese government for leniency toward North Korean refugees who flee into China.

They also were pleading for immediate release of the South Korean humanitarian aid worker, Choi Yong-hun, who has already served two years of a five-year prison sentence (for his attempt to help North Korean refugees in China).

The incident was taped by newsmen present. The scenes, including the forcible removal of overseas journalists from the press conference room, were repeatedly broadcast in Japan by the TV networks.

The international community appears to be growing increasingly doubtful about China’s fitness to host the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

On 22 December when the worldwide simultaneous “block the repatriation of NK refugees” demonstrations were held in front of Chinese embassies and consulates in many country worldwide, we saw a number of placards demanding the 2008 Olympic Games be moved to Toronto in Canada.

With only a few years remaining until the next Olympics, the Chinese government must respond to this growing increasing demand for saving North Korean refugees.

— Public Statement from SK Lawmakers —
13th, Jan, 2005

We demand apology and punishment of those responsible for the sabotage of South Korean lawmakers’ press conference with the int’l media

On Jan. 12 (Wed), 2005, at a conference room on the 2nd floor of the Great Wall Sheraton Hotel in Beijing, a very regrettable incident occurred at 2 p.m.. National Assemblymen of the Republic of Korea Kim Moon-soo, Choi Byung-gook, Bae Il-do and Park Seung-hwan were about to start a press conference, when all of the lights suddenly went out and the reporters were forcefully pulled out of the room.

This incident is a very grievous event that seriously threatens the diplomatic relations between the Republic of Korea (ROK) and the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

In response, we hereby demand the following:

1. We urge the PRC government to figure out those who are responsible for the sabotage of this rightful press conference and deal with the same according to the Chinese law;

2. We urge the PRC government to show the law and/or regulation pertaining to the interference of this press conference;

3. We urge the PRC government to determine the person or persons in charge of those responsible for the black-out of said conference room for two hours and virtually detaining and/or isolating us for over five hours;

4. We urge the PRC government to punish the person or persons in charge of those dozen or so unidentified ruffians who shoved the reporters out of the conference room and threatened us on several occasions with the use of force; and

5. We urge the ROK government to lodge a stern protest with the PRC government for the disruption of this press conference and implement a strongest diplomatic measure ensuring the punishment of the person or persons responsible for this incident and the promise not to allow the recurrence of the like incident.
Members of the National Assembly, Republic of Korea,
Kim Moon-soo,
Choi Byung-gook,
Bae Il-do,
Park Seung-hwan