Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Tales of Horror Falling Mostly on Deaf Ears (2)

Unfortunately, no one from the mainstream media was present to bear witness to [Kyeong-Sook Cha and Soon-Hee Ma’s] moving testimony.

Their misfortune was that the hearing took place on Oct. 27. The media in Washington, D.C., were in a feeding frenzy over the Harriet Miers withdrawal and the "Scooter" Libby indictments. Cha's and Ma's tragic stories were ignored.

Congress previously passed landmark legislation, the North Korea Human Rights Act, in 2004. The result of the legislation, however, has not been impressive.

Timothy Peters of Helping Hands Korea, a Christian relief project, complained that, despite the intent of the law to help North Korean defectors, the State Department has been "seriously out of step with the spirit and letter" of the act, and "not a single North Korean refugee has been assisted" in asylum-seeking since the passage of the law, leaving them to the mercy of Chinese police, North Korean agents and human traffickers.

Despite the collusion between the Chinese and North Korean governments to prevent North Korean defections, it is clear from the testimony of Cha, Ma and others involved in the North Korean "underground railroad" that neither government is able to stem the flow of the desperate people who seek to escape nightmarish North Korea, where millions starve and 200,000 languish in gulags.

It is possible, even likely, that aiding the outflow of North Korean defectors and spreading the news of the outside world — thereby encouraging a mass exodus — would do far more to bring down the repugnant North Korean regime and resolve its nuclear threat permanently than any amount of futile diplomatic talk with the regime could achieve.

[Excerpted from an article by James Na in The Seattle Times]

[Full testimony by Tim Peters before The House Committee on International Relations, Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific]

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