Alleged Chinese Police Report Supports Allegations of 2003 Massacre of North Koreans

Writing in the Wall Street Journal in October 2006, Melanie Kirkpatrick first raised shocking claims about North Korean border guards’ massacre of a large group of people trying to flee from North Korea to China across the Yalu River. Her report was based on documents purporting to come from official Chinese documents, including a local police report from Badaogou Precinct, near Baishan City:

“At 7 a.m. on Oct. 3, 2003,” Case Report No. 055 begins, “a report was received from the public of several corpses floating in the Yalu River. Officers from the Precinct immediately responded and organized personnel and by 10 a.m. 53 corpses had been recovered.

“At 5 a.m. on Oct. 4 an additional three corpses were recovered for a total of 56 corpses. There were 36 males and 20 females, including seven children (five male and two female). After examination of the personal effects it was determined that the dead were citizens of the DPRK [North Korea]. Autopsies confirmed that all 56 had been shot to death. It is estimated that the dead were shot by Korean border guards while attempting to cross into China.” [Melanie Kirkpatrick, Wall Street Journal]

Kirpatrick’s report contained more chilling information — according to a Chinese Border Police document,

“To date, almost 400,000 North Korean illegal immigrants have entered China and large numbers continue to cross the border illegally.” And, “As of the end of December 2004, 133,009 North Korean illegal immigrants have been deported.” While Chinese authorities obviously know how many refugees they have deported, by definition they can’t know how many are in hiding. The estimate of 400,000 is sure to be low.

And that was as of January 2005.

[The body of a North Korean woman lies frozen into the ICE of the Yalu River, from the BBC documentary, “On the Border”]

We’ve since seen it reported by the NGO Helping Hands Korea that North Korea has deployed snipers to the border, with orders to shoot to kill.

Today, Michael Rank, blogging at NK Econ Watch, links to an image of the alleged Chinese police report on the 2003 massacre.


I’d be interested in the thoughts of several regular readers of this site who speak and read Chinese. Are there any reasons to doubt the document’s authenticity?

Ordinarily, I would eagerly await Selig Harrison’s defense of this as the only recourse left to the leaders of a besieged nation, but that would require Harrison to actually acknowledge this.