Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Korean Church Coalition pressing China on North Korean refugees

As the world tunes in to witness the pomp and pageantry of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, Sam Kim is working to ensure the international spotlight will also cast a glare on China's spotty human rights record.

Kim, executive director of the Irvine-based Korean Church Coalition, is leading a campaign to get China to release up to 300,000 refugees from North Korea who cross the country's northeast border in search of food, work or freedom from political persecution.

The coalition, made up of 3,000 churches nationwide, has printed and distributed thousands of banners and bumper stickers that read "Let My People Go!" held dozens of prayer vigils across the country, and lobbied legislators to bring attention to the plight of the refugees.

Refugees who remain in China must turn to an underground railroad to attempt entry into South Korea, and many female refugees have been forcibly trafficked into the country and end up as sex workers or slaves, according to human rights groups including Amnesty International.

[Excerpt of an article by Erika Chavez, Orange County Register]

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