South Korean and American are pushing the issue of North Korean refugees as the Olympics approach, as as other issues focus intense pressure on China. Here’s what’s happening in Seoul:
Onlookers watch as a man tied up in ropes is led down a crowded pedestrian street by a woman holding a plastic assault rifle. Another man holding a megaphone explains that the re-enactment depicts a scene that has become an everyday occurrence in China. A multinational coalition of activists, calling themselves the 4-4-4 Campaign, holds this demonstration each weekend in downtown Seoul. [World Politics Review]
Meanwhile, the Korean Church Coalition is holding vigils in front of the Chinese Embassy in Washington, and its consulate in L.A. You can read more about the KCC’s campaign for North Korean refugees in China here.
The L.A. Times has also run a story on the stateless children of North Korean refugee women who are born in China.
Thousands of children in China are unable to attend school or obtain the privileges of citizenship because their mothers are North Korean refugees, Human Rights Watch said Sunday.
Large numbers of women who fled famine in North Korea came to China and entered relationships with Chinese men, and although these couples live as man and wife, the unions are not recognized by Chinese law and the children go unregistered.
The numbers of affected children may reach the tens of thousands, Human Rights Watch said in its report. China is home to as many as 100,000 North Koreans, the vast majority of them women. Just as the women need food and shelter, Chinese farmers are desperate for wives. [L.A. Times, Barbara Demick]
It’s hard to see how even the ChiComs being this heartless to innocent, especially when they’re born in China to Chinese fathers. If the mothers are arrested, will the kids — who’ve never set foot in North Korea — get deported to almost certain death there?