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S.Korea urges fair treatment for 4 activists detained in China

S.Korea urges fair treatment for 4 activists detained in China

Posted May. 26, 2012 06:07,   


South Korea urged China to grant fair treatment to four South Korean human rights activists detained in China’s Liaoning Province on the charge of helping North Korean defectors.

South Korean Vice Foreign Minister Ahn Ho-yeong summoned Chinese Ambassador to Seoul Zhang Xinsen on Friday to demand that Beijing comply with international law, practices and humanitarianism to protect the four detainees from unjust treatment or abuse of their human rights.

China has barred one of the activists, Kim Young-hwan, from contacting his attorney or confirming the intent of the remaining three to meet a Korean consul, on which Ahn said, “It seems that the rights of the detainees aren`t fully guaranteed.”

On the charges of national safety law violations against the four, Ahn asked China to explain what part of the law they violated while doing what activities.

A South Korean Foreign Ministry source who attended the meeting between Ahn and Zhang quoted the latter as saying, “I`m fully aware of Seoul’s stance and will convey this to Beijing. The talks between Ahn and Zhang were to discuss bilateral cooperation issues, but the core was Kim Young-hwan.”

The European Parliament on Thursday passed a resolution urging China to release the four detainees and allow them to meet consuls and their families. “We express our deep regret over China having applied the charge of national safety law violations that can lead to their execution,” it said, adding, “We demand that China allow them to meet consuls and get legal assistance and swiftly release them.”

The U.K.-based group Christian Solidarity Worldwide also issued a statement Tuesday that said, “We urge China to immediately release the four human rights activists without precondition.”

On the relocation of the activists to Dandong, a border city between China and North Korea, the Christian group said, “Considering that North Korean spies are actively operating in Dandong, we fear North Korean involvement.”

U.S. congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (Republican-Florida) also issued a statement May 17 to demand their release, saying, “I fear the prospects of harsh treatment and torture.”