North Koreans live in one of the most inhumane and cruel regimes in the world. There’s no doubt about that. Starvation, arbitrary arrest, torture, forced labor, and public execution are just a few of the horrors that North Koreans fear each day. Most North Koreans have no option but to live under the rule of this repressive regime, but some have risked imprisonment and possible execution attempting to flee the country. No one knows exactly how many have fled the nation, but estimates range from 100,000 to 400,000 in the last few decades alone. For the majority of North Koreans fleeing the nation, the only viable option is to cross by foot into China and then eventually seek asylum in nations such as South Korea or Thailand.
Unfortunately, China is making every effort to ensure that these brave men and women never find asylum. Chinese government officials actively hunt down refugees and forcibly repatriate them back to North Korea, all but condemning them to death or a lifetime in prison. Not only does China seek out refugees for immediate detainment and openly pays bounties for reports on refugees’ whereabouts, the communist regime also actively blocks refugees from entering into refugee-friendly embassies in Beijing and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees office, where refugees could begin the asylum process.
China’s cruel policy of repatriation is a blatant violation of its international treaties, including the 1951 UN Convention on Refugees and the 1967 Protocol. Despite vast international pressure, the communist regime continues to actively pursue North Korean refugees for arrest and repatriation. “There is no reason for China to continue its inhumane and barbaric treatment of North Koreans,” stated the Chairman of the North Korea Freedom Coalition, Suzanne Scholte, “because unlike any refugees in the world today, they can be immediately resettled as they are citizens of South Korea under the Republic of Korea’s constitution. This is a crisis that could be solved overnight if China would simply follow international law and allow the UNHCR to do their job.”
China’s Policies Fueling the Sex Trade
For those refugees who are not caught and repatriated, an estimated 90% are sold and trafficked into the sex trade. Experts point to China’s one-child policy that has resulted in a shortage of women in the nation. It is estimated that by 2030, nearly 30 million Chinese men of marriageable age will be without prospects of marriage – thus creating a severe gender imbalance and fueling the sex trade. China’s ruthless repatriation policy leaves North Korean refugees especially vulnerable to traffickers.
Raise Your Voice on September 22
In order to bring global awareness of China’s cruel policy and practice of repatriation of North Korean refugees, ICC is partnering with the North Korea Freedom Coalition for an International Protest to Save the North Korean Refugees on Thursday, September 22. This protest will call Chinese embassies and consulates throughout the world to stop their policy and practice, and to stand up for the rights of North Koreans.
Would you be willing to coordinate a protest at the Chinese embassy or consulate in your city or country? We’re looking for people to organize a protests or rally, conduct a prayer vigil, host a film screening of movies that depict the plight of North Korean refugees, or simply to deliver a petition to the Chinese embassy. If you think you would be interested in any of these opportunities, please email ICC at email@example.com.