china forcibly returns over 500 north koreans to north korea
The People’s Republic of China has forcefully conducted a repatriation of a large number of North Koreans. This move is a blow to human rights as any forced repatriation of North Koreans goes against international norms because of safety issues.
Human Rights Watch (HRW), an international non-governmental organization responsible for defending the rights of people in 100 countries worldwide, published a report titled ‘China Forcibly Returns More than 500 to North Korea’, to highlight the grave human rights violations in China and North Korea.
What happened to more than 500 North Koreans?
Human Rights Watch (HRW) said that the Chinese authorities had forcefully returned more than 500 North Koreans to North Korea. HRW also slammed China and the Chinese government for forcibly repatriating North Koreans.
On 29 August, China forcibly repatriated 80 North Koreans. On September 18, the Chinese authorities forcibly repatriated 40 North Koreans. HRW urged China’s government to suspend forced returns. HRW also wrote a letter to Chinese leader Xi Jinping, requesting to halt forced returns of North Koreans.
South Korea also said that the North Korean government had forced back around 500 North Koreans, including women, to North Korea.
Atrocities committed against North Koreans
According to reports and knowledgeable sources, a North Korean who had escaped North Korea in 1998, was believed to be among those deported this week. The North Korean woman was forcibly sent back to North Korea. She had lived in China for 25 years and had a daughter with a Chinese man. Despite living in China for so many years, the Chinese authorities sent her back to North Korea.
The North Korean woman, identified as Kim Cheol-ok, was detained by Chinese authorities in Jilin province. She was sent back to North Korea but her family remained in China. She loved her daughter and did not want to leave her. However, the Chinese authorities sent her back to North Korea.
The returnees are at risk of being detained in forced labor camps, according to a report by HRW. Women are also at risk of facing torture, sexual violence, enforced disappearance, and execution.
If a person leaves North Korea without permission, the North Korean leader calls them criminals. If returned to North Korea, they may face death sentence or detention in abusive forced labor camps.
The Chinese government has repeatedly called North Koreans illegal “economic migrants.” China forcefully deports them to North Korea. North Koreans risk persecution or torture in their home country.