Did you know that last month 400 North Korean refugees in a Thai detention camp held a hunger strike? or that three aid workers are being sought for arrest for smuggling them in? This has been going on for some time.
Are you aware that some Koreans are picketing the Chinese embassy to protest China’s deportation of North Korean refugees back to that police state, where they face torture and death?

Did you know that South Korea recently thanked our president for allowing North Koreans to travel here in transit to South Korea?

When I saw that article, I looked up what it meant, but there was little recently. This 2002 article is typical of the story, which has been going on for over a decade with little protest or publicity. Although there are tens of thousands, perhaps over 100 000 North Korean refugees hidden in the hills of Northern China, occassionally some manage to get past the police. The article is about some who entered a Bejing embassy, and ended up flying to Manila, where they later left to go to Korea.

Yet the persistence of famine in the North means that if that government collapses, there will be millions of refugees that China (and South Korea) may have to cope with.

There are rumors about changes of personnel in the North Korean government and army, leading to rumors of China trying to encourage a coup by the communist party or army there.

Indeed, the last week in April was the day of remembrance for those suffering in North Korea, and Bush even met with human rights activists in early May.

Many of these protests are led by Christian human rights groups, the same ones who led the publicity on Dafur.

They hope that they can pressure China by threatening an olympic boycott. Perhaps if enough people demonstrate or promise to boycott China, they will allow the North Korean refugees to stay there, and perhaps even encourage China to help their fellow communist government change to allow economic growth and a little freedom to that country, where two million have starved to death over the last ten years.


Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the Philippines. Her webpage is Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket. 

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