CHRISTIAN SOLIDARITY WORLDWIDE
VERY URGENT: APPEAL TO HALT EXECUTION OF NORTH KOREAN CHRISTIAN
We are writing to ask if you could help in raising urgent concern for a group of North Koreans who are in the process of being sent back to North Korea, where they are in danger of execution.
The six defectors were arrested in Yunnan Province in China, near the Laos / Burma border between 24th – 26th May. They were attempting to leave China, without a guide, but were arrested and are now being taken by the Chinese authorities to North China for repatriation to North Korea.
The group was sent to Kunmin on the morning of 29th May and have been transported to Changchun today. The situation is particularly urgent as the Chinese are moving exceptionally fast in this case.
Amongst the group is Lee Song-yong, a 2 1/2 year old boy, born 15th November 1999 in 292 Chinese Army Hospital in Beijing. Lee’s mother, Park Sun-hi, aged 31, was 3 months pregnant when she fled to China for freedom in May 1999. Afraid of arrest and repatriation in China she managed to reach South Korea on 22nd November 2002. She is now a South Korean citizen. However she could not take her 12 month old baby at the time and has been desperate to bring him to live with her. She managed to find a group of North Koreans preparing to leave China and asked them to take her son with them. Unfortunately this is the group that has been arrested.
A second member of the group is Mr Lee Hong-gang, aged 48. He was an underground Christian in North Korea. His father and one of his two brothers were executed for their Christian faith in North Korea. He fled North Korea in April 2000 when there were indications that his arrest and execution were imminent.
Accounts from North Korean defectors who have been recaptured and interrogated by the North Korean authorities systematically report that being a Christian or even having had contact with a Christian is one of the most serious crimes that a North Korean can commit. Eyewitness evidence gathered by CSW and other organisations attests that North Koreans who have tried to escape and who are Christians face execution. It is believed by those close to the situation that there is no doubt that he would be executed if he is repatriated to North Korea.
A third member of the group is 30 year old Kim Mi-hwa.
The other serious crime that North Korean interrogators look for is links with South Korea, as this is deemed the ultimate act of treason. The facts that the group were heading for South Korea, and Lee Song-yong’s mother has already defected to South Korea, are grave grounds for concern for the welfare of the group.
This is a very serious case. It is understood that China and North Korea have an agreement that China will repatriate North Koreans to North Korea. We know from first hand evidence that this gives rise to the most horrific human rights abuses, including execution. Recent cases that have caught international attention have resulted in a more humanitarian response, with North Koreans seeking refuge in embassies being allowed to leave China for safety.
China’s international reputation is at risk in sending these people back to certain death. Besides the obvious outcry which such action should precipitate, her position as host of the Olympic Games in 2008 has to be called into question while such barbaric acts are carried out.
CSW is urgently appealing for expressions of concern from around the world to be communicated to the Chinese authorities to halt the repatriation. We would be very grateful if you could raise your concern as a matter of urgency and urge others to do the same. CSW is calling on political representatives, the UNHCR, the press, the International Olympic Committee and others with influence to urgently voice concern over this situation. Please use any contacts you have with these channels to encourage them to take this up as a matter of urgency.
Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs Tang Jiaxuan Minister of Foreign Affairs 2 Chaoyangmenneidajie Dongsi, Beijing 100701 People’s Republic of China Tel: 00 86 10 6596 1109/14 Fax: 00 86 10 6596 2660 Email:
Chinese Embassy to the United Kingdom His Excellency Mr Ma Zhengang Ambassador Chinese Embassy to the United Kingdom 49-51 Portland Place London W1N 4JL Tel: 020 7299 4049 Fax: 020 7636 2981 / 7636 5578
Chinese Mission to the United Nations in Geneva His Excellency Mr Qiao Zonghuai Tel: 00 41 22 879 56 00 / 78 / 50 / 41 Fax: 00 41 22 793 70 14 E-mail:
Permanent Mission of the People’s Republic of China to the UN in New York His Excellency Mr Wang Yingfan Tel: + 1 212 655 6100 (switch) / 655 6123 (Ambassador) Fax: + 1 212 634 7626 E-mail:
Embassy of the People’s Republic of China (USA) Tel + 1 202 328 2500 Fax: + 1 202 588 0032
Embassy of the People’s Republic of China (Australia) His Excellency Wenzhong Zhou 15 Coronation Drive Yarralumla ACT 2600 Tel + 61 2 6273 4780 Fax: + 61 2 6273 4878 http://www.chinaembassy.org.au
Consulate-General of the People’s Republic of China (Aust-NSW) Tel +61 2 9698 5007 (political) Fax +61 2 9319 2430
Consulate-General of the People’s Republic of China (Aust-Vic) Tel +61 3 9822 0604 Fax +61 3 9822 0320
Consulate-General of the People’s Republic of China (Aust-WA) Tel +61 8 9321 8193 Fax +61 8 9321 8457
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) 94 rue de Montbrillant 1202 Geneva Switzerland Tel: 00 41 22 739 8111 Fax: 00 41 22 739 7377 E-mail: