China is increasing its expulsion rates of illegal invaders from Korea pretending to be “asylum seekers,” much to the impotent anger of United Nations officials, it has emerged.
According to a report in the Korea Herald, China “has recently been repatriating more North Koreans seeking to resettle in the South.”
Tomas Ojea Quintana, the UN special rapporteur on North Korean human rights, told that newspaper that the Chinese government “has been intensifying its crackdown on North Korean escapees, detaining and deporting many of them.
“There is, in fact, the tendency to tighten control in the border areas, there is the tendency to crack down on those who finally cross the border and transfer them for detention and there’s the tendency to increase repatriations,” he said in an interview.
His remarks coincide with a Radio Free Asia report Saturday that a group of five family members of a local Workers’ Party official had committed suicide after being apprehended in the southwestern city of Kunming by Chinese authorities, who were transporting them back to North Korea.
The Chinese government responded to the reports by saying that it had “properly handled the issue of some North Koreans illegally entering the country,” and that “those who enter illegally cannot be categorized as refugees.”
“The North Koreans who illegally trespassed into China are not refugees. They broke China’s law and entered the country in an illegal manner,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said at a daily briefing on Monday.
The Chinese government has properly handled the issues related to the illegal entry of North Koreans in accordance with China’s law, international law and the principle of humanitarianism, according to Lu.
“We urge UN’s human rights mechanism to abide by the principles in the UN Charter and relevant people to fulfill their duties in a fair and objective manner,” said Lu.