China Claims 62 NK Defectors Not Repatriated Yet
Beijing officials are denying media reports that they repatriated
62 North Korean defectors.
South Korea's Joong Ang Daily stated on Nov. 12 that China is
denying earlier news reports of returning the 62 to North Korea.
Authorities in Beijing are reportedly claiming that the defectors
are still undergoing processing prior to repatriation at a detention
center near the border with North Korea.
Our group, LFNKR (Life Funds for North Korean Refugees), while
visiting Seoul, South Korea to participate in the North Korea
Holocaust Exhibition (Nov. 8-10) received news on the morning
of Nov. 9, that the 62 defectors had just been repatriated.
Our group, along with a number of other activists, hurried to
the Chinese Embassy in Seoul to protest the action. (For photos
see link below)
It is widely recognized in international society that North Koreans
fleeing into China qualify as refugees, with full rights to protection.
Continuing to arrest and repatriate North Korean refugees can
only tarnish further the reputation of China as host of the 2008
Twelve members of our LFNKR group were in Seoul to attend the
opening ceremony of the NK Holocaust Exhibition. Two Japanese
lawmakers, Masaharu Nakagawa and Shu Watanabe also attended. (Photo
During our two days in Seoul, we visited more than 60 Grand National
Party (GNP) members of the Korean National Assembly. We sought
their support for NK refugees and their help in gaining the immediate
release of Mr. Choi Yong-hun, who has now served 22 months of
a 5-year sentence for assisting NK defectors.
(Below is a link to the text of the postcard we asked the assembly
persons and participants to sign. The postcard was addressed to
the Chinese ambassador to the Republic of Korea.)
Postcard link: http://www.northkoreanrefugees.com/postcard1.htm
6 Foster Children Thriving Now in South Korea
During our stay in Seoul, we also met six of our North Korean
foster children, whom we helped escape from China.
LFNKR began a foster parent program in 1998, which allowed us
to take North Korean children, many of them orphans, into local
shelters and send them to local schools in China where they could
receive a minimum education.
These six children especially wished to continue their studies,
so LFNKR decided to help them move to South Korea where they could
find greater opportunities for higher education.
Meeting these children in Seoul was exciting. The foster parents
from LFNKR were delighted to see that all the children are adapting
well to the new environment, although they are still smaller than
average South Korean youngsters because of extreme malnutrition
during crucial growth years.
In just a few months, they have already taken to the fashions
of South Korea, and their eyes now glow with hope.
Three of them are studying to enter university, and two others
are attending computer school. The sixth child, who has not yet
decided on a school, visited a candidate school with LFNKR members,
where they had a school lunch with the children.
(No photos of these children because of the need to protect their
3 Survivors of the Yantai Boat People Incident Say China
Another important meeting: 3 North Korean participants in the
Yantai Boat People incident (January 2003), were repatriated,
then escaped once again, this time successfully reaching South
Korea. LFNKR videotaped the interview with these witnesses and
sent the videotape to UN High Commissioner of Refugees, Ruud Lubbers
to prove irrefutably that those 31 defectors truly were sent back
to North Korea despite China's denials. The current whereabouts
and situation of the remaining repatriated North Koreans remains
a great concern.
A bit of background:
The 3 who re-escaped are a father, age 44, who is currently
attending a technical training center, his 18-year-old daughter,
who is enrolled in remedial school to catch up on the education
she missed while hiding in China, and a young man, 22, who is
now working at a scrap metal plant.
Although they live two hours from Seoul by train, when they learned
that LFNKR members would be arriving, they were eager to meet
and help with our activities in Korea.
Warm regards from Japan,
Hiroshi Kato, secretary general
Life Funds for North Korean Refugees
A-101 Nishi Kata Hyteru
2-2-8 Nishi Kata, Bunkyo-ku
Tokyo, Japan 113-0024
Tel / Fax +81-3-3815-8127