Refugees or Illegal Immigrants

As a brief introduction to my research, I am looking at the treatment of North Korean refugees in China, China’s stance on refugees, and why China handles refugees in the manner they seem to do. The source I’m reporting on comes from Radio Free Asia and is titled “China Arrests North Korean Refuges: Reports.” It discusses the arrest and deportation of 11 North Korean refugees from China, who were traveling south out of China to an unknown Asian country and then presumably, on to South Korea. They were being lead by two ethnic Koreans with Chinese citizenship and were supported by a South Korean Christian mission. There are some contradicting released statements about just how many refugees there were.

In history, China’s known to forcibly repatriate North Korean ‘refugees’. However China doesn’t necessarily think the same way. A quote from the article reads, “China-North Korea’s staunchest ally-frequently repatriates those it catches, claiming they are illegal economic migrants, rather than refugees.” This article is very useful because it gives a very recent example of China dealing with North Korean refugees and covers what happened, China’s actions, and how they dealt with it. It also gives other countries opinions and actions.

I found it interesting that the number of refugees in the group arrested hasn’t clearly found a single factual number. If the refugees are forcefully repatriated, they would likely face death or be sent to a labor camp and Stephen Noerper of the Washington-based Korea society brings up the possibility that they will severely suffer. He wanted the international community to get involved.

I’m hoping to use this particular example further through other articles, news reports, and videos about the refugees and what actions the Chinese government may have taken The article could have been more detailed about China’s stance with possibly more quotes from news reports about the detainees.

Joshua Lipes, “China Arrests North Korean Refugees: Reports” Radio Free Asia. http://www.rfa.org/english/news/korea/arrest-11182013171205.html

One thought on “Refugees or Illegal Immigrants

  1. eileengayle

    I find topics on North Korea interesting because so little reaches mainstream media in the U.S., and the plights of the North Korean people are largely unseen or ignored by the rest of the world. If you haven’t heard of it already, there’s an organization called Liberty in North Korean (LiNK) that is trying to raise awareness about these issues and even works to get refugees out of North Korea that you may find helpful in your research! Here’s a link to the home page if you want to check it out: https://www.libertyinnorthkorea.org

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