Christians Protest China ‘s Repatriation Of North Korean Refugees
11/17/06 North Korea (BosNewsLife) The North Korea Freedom Coalition is preparing to stage the protests December 2 in “countries ranging from Australia , throughout Europe, to America and the Republic of (South) South Korea ,” said Open Doors UK & Ireland , a Christian rights group participating in the initiative.
Contrary to the 1951 ‘United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees,’ China is deporting refugees back to North Korea where they will be received as ‘traitors’, Christian rights investigators say. In addition China does not allow the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) free access to North Korean refugees, according to human rights groups.
“China not only hunts down refugees, but it also hunts down and jails its own citizens, including South Koreans and Americans, for helping these refugees,” said Open Doors UK & Ireland in a statement to BosNewsLife. It comes at a time when reports of torture and executions continue to reach the Western world.
As an example, the group mentioned Kim Tae Jin, a North Korean who escaped to China , was found by Chinese authorities after eight months and repatriated “without mercy.” Kim, who later became a Christian, described what happened to fellow prisoners. He said the leg of one prisoner was amputated after it was caught by a frostbite. Another prisoner had to spend a night with the guards, naked at temperatures of -20 Celsius (-4 Fahrenheit)..
The prisoner “eventually committed suicide by repeatedly banging his head against a wall,” Kim said. He explained that he too had suffered abuse. They beat me with sticks, and I was given hardly anything to eat.. Neither was I allowed to relieve myself, simply because I did not simply follow their orders. I had to sit all day in the same position, which made my legs hurt incredibly,” he added in a statement released by Open Doors UK & Ireland .
“Besides this, we were not allowed to wash or to clean our teeth. The lice were jumping all over us day and night. At night, I had to survive despite the fleas, lice and the severe cold. A torn blanket hardly afforded any protection,” said Kim who later managed to escape North Korea again and now gives lectures in the West.
Christian officials say there are still at least 200,000 people imprisoned in North Korea ‘s notorious prison camps, in many cases for their faith in Christ or opposition to the Communist government.
Torture, execution, hunger and illnesses are a daily phenomena in these camps. The 200,000 prisoners in labor camps provide up to 40 percent of North Korea ‘s Gross Domestic Product,” said the Netherlands branch of Open Doors recently.
Up to 70,000 people in these labor camps are believed to be Christians, others were found guilty of a ‘major crime’ such as throwing a news paper with a picture of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il in the garbage can, Christian rights groups say.
North Korea ‘s Stalinist system of carrying out Communism is based on “total devotion of the individual to an ideology promoted by the late leader Kim Il Sung and his successor and son, Kim Jong Il, according to observers who visited the isolated nation.
Open Doors UK & Ireland said it hopes the December 2 protest it plans to hold at outside the Chinese Embassy at 49-51 Portland Place in London from 11:30 am local time, will send a clear message to refugees “in Chinas jails know that we are standing up” for them. The protest in London will include a prayer vigil and a letter of concern handed over to the ambassador. Similar actions are expected in 13 other cities.
“We know from former refugees and jailed humanitarian workers that these protests have given them tremendous hope , in knowing making them aware that people care and are trying to help improve their circumstances, ” Open Doors UK & Ireland CEO Eddie Lyle told BosNewsLife.