According to 2011 research conducted by Free the NK Gulag (NK Gulag), a South Korean civic organization, 28% of North Korean defectors had their human rights violated by the Chinese public security including harassment, battery and sexual abuse. The research revealed that human rights violations were serious and prevalent in nature.
NK Gulag interviewed 213 defectors who have either escaped to China or have resettled in South Korea from January to May of 2011. 60 of the respondents indicated that this was not their first escape from North Korea. They were arrested by Chinese public security, abused and tortured, and sent back to North Korea.
Kim Shin-young (alias,) one of the interviewees who had been held at the Tuman temprary detention camp, said “[the Chinese public security] assaulted us indiscriminately. We were beaten with rubber bats, kicked with their boots, and verbally abused, simply because we are defectors from North Korea,” and “when international organizations, including the UN, visited the camp, the public security pretended to protect our human rights, and had us all sitting down in a line.”
Lee Jae-hui (alias, 41), another respondent, stated “China was better than North Korea in food supplies; however, there was no difference between two nations in violations of human rights.” She told of various assaults that routinely occurred during the investigation in these Chinese detention camps, including beatings and strip-searches that included humiliating searches of female genitalia. Abuses in China were same as those in North Korea.
Many in the survey also reported that Chinese public security held defectors in a “temporary detention camp” in China for an undetermined period of time, and they are sent back to their home country when camps are full. The public security showed them no respect during their time in defectors’ detention camps.
North Koreans are escaping to China because of hunger and hopes of a better life. They are not looking for much, even a little bit of leftover rice will do. Unfortunately, they live in constant fear of Chinese police and the threat of being sent back to North Korea. Most respondents in the survey said that they were shadowed by public security in China.
Kim Young-il (alias, 41) said, “I had crossed into China to connect two North Korean girls with brokers and secretly returned to Hyesan. When I got home, I received a call from an unknown number. At first the caller was speaking Chinese, but then a different person came on the line and spoke Korean. However, I could tell that he was not a Korean. I think he was a Chinese public security” This and many other examples show that Chinese public security is in collusion with North Korean National Security Agency to track down North Korean defectors in China.
As illustrated, North Korean defectors are living in the fear of Chinese public security even after crossing borders to China from their country. Once arrested, they are exposed to all kinds of violence including sexual abuse and cruelty to pregnant women. What's worse is the famine, torture, and punishment which await them as they are sent back to North Korea.
Expressing her lingering anger towards Chinese public security for violations of human rights and abuses she had experienced in the hands of Chinese public security, Lee added, “Even now, I do not consider Chinese public security to be human-beings. Kim Jong-il doesn’t treat us like respectable human beings, and I now see that Chinese public security sees us the same way.”
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