Open Letter to China’s President
June 29, 2014
From Keigoh Tabira, 2nd-Generation “Nagasaki Hibakusha” (Atomic-bomb victim in Nagasaki, Japan)
A personal appeal from one private citizen seeking peace for a just world.
1. Stop ignoring brutal behavior that directly damages China’s own national interests
It is widely known that over the past two decades a huge number of fugitives has been streaming out of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) into China, especially the three northeast provinces. Unfortunately, this flow of defectors is having a serious impact on China’s security.
Reports filtering out to the rest of the world say that, in the area bordering the DPRK, previously sympathetic Chinese citizens are now experiencing support-fatigue to such an extent that they treat the poverty-stricken refugees flowing in from North Korea with fear and hatred. But finding a real cure for this untenable situation requires that China do more than simply treat the symptoms. Simply posting more guards to try and stanch the inexhaustible flow of people crossing the border will never cure the illness.
What is needed is to take practical measures through real political leadership to remove the root cause of the situation that drives so many people to flee their homeland.
A very large proportion of the fugitives leaving DPRK are women. Many of these women are sold by human-trafficking brokers to Chinese men who are unable to find a wife through any other means. Even more unfortunate are the many women who are forced into the role of sex slaves to rich men or as prostitutes in various areas of the sex trade.
When babies are born to any of these women, they are clearly of Chinese blood. But anytime the Chinese government captures a North Korean woman and deports her back to the DPRK as an illegal alien, the accompanying infants are often also sent to North Korea, where the child is forcibly separated from the mother and killed by the DPRK government. Or if the repatriated woman is pregnant with an unborn child, the fetus is forcibly aborted, no matter the stage of the pregnancy.
On a related topic, during the past four decades, the issue of citizens being abducted by the DPRK government from many countries, including neighboring countries, has been bitterly denounced internationally and globally. Many Chinese nationals have also been caught up in these abductions. It has been primarily the ethnic Korean Chinese who have been kidnapped by DPRK agents, but their precise number and the full story are still not known.
2. Please stop ignoring conduct that significantly harms China’s indirect national interests and international reputation
In 2010, the Gross Domestic Product of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) surpassed that of Japan, placing China as the world’s No. 2 economic power. And if current economic growth trends continue, China will probably surpass the United States of America in 2030, taking over as the world’s No. 1 economic giant.
Any details contained within your worldwide diplomatic missions’ reports concerning the attitudes of other nations toward China are, quite properly, private information. However, among the international community at large, China still projects the unfortunate image of a developing nation in the arena of human rights and humanity.
One major factor contributing to this regressive image is China’s continuing forcible repatriation of North Korean fugitives to the DPRK, an open and clear violation of ‘The Principle of Non-Refoulement”, which is a well-established tenet of international law.
3. DPRK, an outdated, feudal nation, needs to be led forward into fair and sound international control now.
Your country’s political slogan “Realization of the Chinese Dream” suggests the great reawakening of the Chinese people.
But before concentrating exclusively on that dream, it would perhaps be appropriate to give serious thought also to neighboring North Korea’s impending situation, and to recognize its bearing, both directly and indirectly, upon China’s national interests, most specifically in reference to questions of national sovereignty, security, the happiness of citizens, national reputation, pride and dignity.
Near the end of World War Two, the Allied Forces (primarily the American and British forces) liberated Jewish prisoners from German Nazi extermination camps. Similarly, through your People’s Liberation Army (PLA), you now face the opportunity to rescue innocent people from North Korean political prison camps.
The so-called “political prisoners” are not the only persons in question. The relatives of those prisoners are also invariably imprisoned. This means three generations are subject to arrest and include parents, children, grandparents and grandchildren. Children should have the right to be protected as innocents.
“When a nation-state cannot fulfill its responsibility to safeguard its people, the international community, in place of the nation-state, bears a responsibility to protect those people.” This principle, newly emerging, is becoming the norm for international law in the 21st century. Currently, North Korea is either unable or unwilling to protect its people since, at its core, it remains a predominately feudal state that exploits and preys upon its own people.
The reality of its nationwide human rights abuse has been widely exposed to the whole world through last February’s Committee of Inquiry (COI) report to the United Nations Human Rights Council. In the first place, North Korea’s top leaders have, for three generations now, been determined by bloodline. This would never happen in China; it is only possible in the “Kim Kingdom” or “Kim Dynasty”.
The duty to end the feudal and tyrannical rule and to restore human rights and humanity in the northern part of the Korean peninsula should intrinsically be carried out by the UN (Police), as stipulated in chapter 7 of the Charter of the United Nations. In practice, however, those Forces have never genuinely functioned. Since this lack of functionality exists, it is necessary to pursue the second best measure.
Thus, after China’s PLA liberates these innocent people from the political prison camps in North Korea, the destiny of North Korea could realistically then be entrusted to the UN Security Council, of which you are one of five permanent members. This could be achieved in cooperation with the UN General Assembly, where the world’s opinion leaders are gathered and the conscience of the world is reflected.
Against this rational wisdom, could any nation or any political leader raise an objection?