Thursday, April 20, 2006

White House Puts Face on North Korean Human Rights

She showed up at a school in a coastal city in China nearly five months ago and begged for help. Instead, she was deported to her native North Korea and never seen again.

Now the case of Kim Chun Hee has made its way to the desk of President Bush, threatening to complicate the first White House visit of China's leader today and further irritate an irritable relationship.

Urged on by evangelical supporters from his home town and other activists elsewhere, Bush has taken a personal interest in human rights in North Korea and decided to make an example of Kim's asylum case. Alerted to her situation by a South Korean lawmaker, the White House issued a rare statement last month pronouncing itself "gravely concerned" about her fate and chastising China for sending her back.

[Excerpt of an article by Peter Baker, Washington Post]

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