Daily NK: Does the government of China still repatriate North Korean defectors?
Tim Peters: Yes. China repatriates hundreds of North Korean defectors back to North Korea every month. The extent of this violation is more than words can describe.
China claims it fulfills its responsibilities as a member of the United Nations Human Rights Commission. However, not only does it not take any humanitarian actions, but China then carries out inhumane policies of arrest and repatriation of the defectors
Daily NK: Can you tell us about the current situation of the defectors?
Tim Peters: Currently the Chinese police have intensified control of defectors in the Northeast regions. Until a few years ago, we had the relative freedom to manage more than ten safe houses in China where the defectors could find a place of refuge. Now we are down to two in the same area. Also, it is no longer safe for defectors to stay together as a family but individuals have to seek refuge separately. The defectors live day by day, in remote places, with constant fear of arrest.
With the coming Beijing Olympics, the government of China considers the North Korean defector as “target number 1 for clean up” So this is why control has intensified and the situation is worse for the defectors.
Here’s an example, my wife and I and a doctor attempted to deliver some medication to a woman refugee. The defector we were to meet was scheduled to leave to Cambodia the next day, and she needed some medication. When we arrived at the meeting place, we received the message that the woman did not wish to meet us.
Even though she was in urgent need of medication, she refused to meet anyone. Here on the eve of her anticipated departure to a safe country, she just didn’t want to take a chance, since she had learned to trust no one. This is but one example of the extensive control of the Chinese government.