Why China Sends North Korean Defectors Back to Hell

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The public is fast becoming aware that Chinese border police are deporting North Korean defectors who risk their lives to escape from North Korea into China.

In November, ten North Korean defectors were detained in China before being deported back.


A Man Begs China Not to Deport Wife and Son

Among the ten deported were the wife and 4-year-old son of a man who escaped to South Korea in 2015.

On hearing the news that China had detained his family upon their escape from North Korea, he posted a video message to BBC and CNN pleading Chinese president Xi Jinping and U.S. president Donald Trump to stop China from deporting North Korean defectors.

“I can see my baby in that cold cell, crying out for his father,” he said. “I can’t just stand by doing nothing”. His pleas were to no avail.

“Make no mistake: sending them back across the border makes Beijing complicit in the torture, forced labor, and, in some cases, executions that others sent back to North Korea have faced,” said Phil Robertson, Deputy Asia Director for Human Rights Watch.


What Awaits Deported North Koreans

North Korea prosecutes those who cross the border as criminals, and treats them accordingly by their standards. According to UN reports, deported North Koreans are arrested, interrogated, tortured, forced to perform hard labor, and sometimes executed. There are cases where they are shot dead in front of the Chinese official who sent them back.

South Korea protects North Korean escapees as refugees because they know exactly what happens to the deported men, women and children. According to the Chosun Ilbo issued on 30th November, every Wednesday scores of members from the North defector and religious groups gather in front of the Chinese Embassy in South Korea to protest against China’s forced deportation of North Korean defectors.

The Korean National Human Rights Commission reports that a family of 5 detained by China all committed suicide the moment they realized they would be deported. It shows how much of a living hell North Korea is. By deporting them, China is sending them straight back into hell.


Why Does China Detain Defectors?

According to a 2012 article by South Korean newspaper, the Dong-a Ilbo, China was receiving timber and mineral resources in exchange for deporting defectors. In other words, China is deporting defectors for a pittance in profit.

It has also been reported that Chinese citizens are reporting North Koreans who cross the border in exchange for government prize money. Lee Hyeon-seo, famous for her agonizing story of escape, told the NY Times in March 2016 of Beijing’s inhumane treatment of North Korean defectors.

“Chinese policy is: If you report a North Korean defector, you’ll get paid,” she explained. “The prices, I understand, are 3,000 to 5,000 renminbi [about $460 to $770] if you report defectors. There are Chinese in border towns who are reporting on them for the money. It’s really sad”.

“At least let them safely cross the land,” she added.


In China, Defectors Are Not Refugees

The Beijing government continues to deport North Korean defectors while knowing what frightening inhumane future awaits them. How then, does China try to justify their actions?

The Beijing government does not recognize defectors as refugees worthy of protection, but continues to claim that they are illegal economic immigrants. China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced in September that, “North Koreans who illegally cross the border into China are not considered refugees but criminals to Chinese law”.

China and North Korea have signed an agreement to transfer these ‘criminals’, which is the argument they use to justify their immoral decision to deport defectors.

The UN, among other organizations, has long been demanding China to cease doing this. In the UN Convention Against Torture ratified by China in 1988, Article 3 reads thus: “No State Party shall expel, return (“refouler”) or extradite a person to another State where there are substantial grounds for believing that he would be in danger of being subjected to torture”.

In other words, refugee or not, it is forbidden to deport people to North Korea when we know there is torture going on inside its borders. This agreement, however, is not legally binding and therefore if China does not voluntarily agree to follow it, there is no way we can stop them from deporting defectors.


Atheistic States Have No Basic Human Rights

What China and North Korea have in common is that both countries are atheistic states that deny and condemn faith in God. In his book “Leadership in a Time of Crisis”, Master Ryuho Okawa, founder and CEO of Happy Science, discusses the problems inherent in atheistic states.

“Atheism leads to hubris. The power that belongs to the people of this world expands infinitely, and leads to the idea that since there is no soul, we have the freedom to kill people or not at our will. On the contrary, basic human rights grow out of the idea that each person has an equally brilliant soul given to them by God.”


North Korean Defectors Are Flag Bearers for North Korean Democratization

The Liberty Magazine interviewed North Korean defector and democracy activist Kang Chol-hwan in May of this year.

When asked, “What do you think is required for North Korea’s democratization?” Kang answered, “First we must work to stop China’s deportation of defectors immediately. If this stops, more people in North Korea will begin seeking democratization, which will boost our activism.”

“Then, defectors who come to South Korea can return to North Korea to cooperate with the citizens to create a good country,” Kang added.

Most North Korean defectors are just passing through China, their final destination being South Korea. If China allows them to pass through, the defectors can escape to South Korea or another democratic country, to live the proper life of a human. Some of these defectors may end up becoming democratization activists like Kang, who can tell the world of the horrors that go on in North Korea.

The international community must unite in protest against China’s deportation of defectors, which is preventing the democratization of North Korea.

Why China Sends North Korean Defectors Back to Hell
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