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Beijing sent over 50 defectors in detention back to N. Korea

Beijing sent over 50 defectors in detention back to N. Korea

Posted July. 19, 2021 08:34,   

Updated July. 19, 2021 08:34


The Chinese government sent more than 50 North Korean defectors who had been in detention in Shenyang, Liaoning Province back to North Korea, Radio Free Asia reported on Friday. China had sought to repatriate them to the North since April, but Pyongyang reportedly declined to receive them several times due to concern over possible inflow of Covid-19 patients, which resulted in delays. RFA said the ill-fated defectors will most likely face execution in the North.

The Chinese authority sent North Korean defectors, who had been detained at the Shenyang Detention Center for one or two years, via the customs office in Dandong, China on July 14. According to the RFA report, the defectors were carried in two buses, and dozens of Chinese police officers were watching them around the customs office from early in the morning, while blocking people from taking photos or video.

The 50-plus defectors, who were repatriated to the North, included a number of North Korean soldiers and Air Force pilots. A 30-something female defector who married to a Chinese man has a 12-year-old son. She reportedly earned a sizable amount of money in China. “The woman was repatriated to the North for a second time, and there is no way of knowing her fate. Her husband tried to bribe officials to save her, to no avail,” an informed source said. According to RFA, the Shenyang Detention Center still has a number of North Korean defectors in detention, apart from the 50-plus repatriated defectors.

As the customs office in Dandong reopened on the day after shutdown for Covid-19 quarantine on the day, 98 people including Chinese nationals who were staying in the North and representatives of the North’s trade office moved to China.

Eun-Taek Lee nabi@donga.com