Activists Worldwide Call on Xi Jinping:
Stop Repatriating North Koreans
Despite many years of advocacy and worldwide attention by so many of you, it was devastating to learn that China has started the repatriation of children, women, and men back to North Korea. It is unclear if the entire 2,600 that have been detained since COVID have all been sent back or if only half of them have been forcefully repatriated in groups of hundreds, but this advocacy must continue.
Even though it is extremely discouraging, we must continue this work and we should reflect on some significant developments that have resulted from your efforts as advocates for the North Korean refugees:
First, the UN Special Rapporteur, Elizabeth Salmon, and three UN working groups have spoken out strongly on this issue as well as the Special Envoys for South Korea, Ambassador Shin-wha Lee, and the United States, Ambassador Julie Turner.
Second, Xi Jinping and the CCP in China know that what they are doing is wrong, and they know the world is watching. Hence, the reason they are trying to do this quietly because of your success in raising awareness of this crisis.
Third, this will continue to be an issue until the tyranny of the communist regimes in North Korean and China end.
Fourth, never underestimate the power of your actions and your words even if it sometimes seems in vain. I have shared this with many of you before but I had thought about how hopeless it all seemed until I met three different individuals: two North Korean women who had been victims of trafficking who had contemplated suicide and one South Korean man who had been beaten and tortured in jail in China. When they heard that people like you were standing up for them, it gave them the hope to live, to survive. You gave them the will to continue because they knew they were not suffering unknown and alone.
So, we pause briefly here for a moment with this report prepared for you by Johnny Park as we thank and show our great respect to the folks listed in these pages who raised their voices against great evil to be a voice for those who could not speak.
The fight goes on.
Acta Non Verba,
Australia: Anthony Boyle
Anthony Boyle joined us in solidarity and delivered the NKFC appeal to the PRC Embassy in Canberra and the PRC General Consulates in Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, and Sydney. Anthony Boyle commented: “This year was particularly important as it marked the return of the repatriations back to North Korea. I don’t know if our efforts will achieve anything substantial, but it shows the Chinese Government that good people around the world are always looking at what they’re doing, and we’re not ignoring the plight of the North Korean escapees. Keep up the good work.”
Belgium: Voice for Justice and Jubilee Campaign Netherlands
The Voice for Justice and Jubilee Campaign Netherlands participated in the Save North Korean Refugees Day 2023 from Belgium. They helped us deliver our appeal to the PRC Embassy and the Chinese Mission to the European Union, both located in Brussels.
Canada: Kyung B. Lee
Kyung B. Lee hand-delivered the NKFC appeal to the PRC Embassy in Ottawa and the PRC General Consulates in Calgary, Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver.
Finland: Mikko Heikkonen
Mikko Heikkonen participated once again in Finland. Even though he has an incredibly demanding personal schedule — raising teenagers, working in a hospital teaching teens, and organizing music festivals – he still took the time to participate in the Save North Korean Refugees Day by getting our petition to the PRC embassy in Helsinki. He shared that the war in Ukraine dominates the news there and soon it will be Gaza and that “North Korea has disappeared from the news.” But thanks to Mikko, the North Korean refugees were not forgotten by the people of Finland.
Japan: Kato Hiroshi of Life Funds for North Korea Refugees
Kato Hiroshi delivered his appeal on behalf of Life Funds for North Korea Refugees to the PRC Embassy in Tokyo and the PRC General Consulates in Fukuoka, Nagasaki, Niigata, Osaka, Sapporo, and Nagoya.
Malawi: Pastor Jones Chamangwana and Madalitso Banda
Pastor Jones Chamangwana and Madalitso Banda not only delivered the NKFC appeal to the PRC Embassy in Lilongwe but also organized a rally to stand with the North Korean refugees in the PRC. Madalitso Banda commented: “It is really heart breaking to learn that 2 buses of North Korean Refugees were sent back to North Korea. This is a sad development. Please be assured that myself and Pastor Chamangwana here in Malawi will keep on advocating for our brothers and sisters until the day when North Koreans will be free.”
Mexico: Joy Ost
Joy Ost successfully delivered our appeal to the PRC Embassy in Mexico City and the PRC General Consulate in Tijuana.
New Zealand: Anthony Boyle
Anthony Boyle helped us deliver the NKFC appeal to the PRC Embassy in Wellington and the PRC General Consulates in Auckland and Christchurch.
Nicaragua: Auntie A
The participant from Nicaragua joined us again this year to stand with the North Korean refugees detained in the PRC and deliver the NKFC appeal to the PRC Embassy in Managua.
South Africa: Dr. Gallous Asong Atabongwoung
Dr. Gallous Asong Atabongwoung joined us from South Africa to deliver our appeal to the PRC Embassy in Pretoria and the PRC General Consulates in Cape Town, Durban, and Johannesburg. Dr. Atabongwoung commented:
“Good day. There is a private security company that patrols the Embassy of China. Anyone accessing the premises must have an access permit. Hence, my awareness campaign can only the next street after the embassy. China is very worried about its public image across Africa. Hence, they take strong security measures to counter all forms of human rights campaigns.”Dr. Gallous Asong Atabongwoung
The Netherlands: Voice for Justice and Jubilee Campaign Netherlands
The Voice for Justice and Jubilee Campaign Netherlands also represented the Netherlands and delivered the NKFC appeal to the PRC Embassy in the Hague and the PRC General Consulate in Dutch Caribbean.
The Republic of Korea: The North Korea Freedom Coalition, the NKPLF, and the North Korea Freedom Week Preparation Committee
As part of the 20th North Korea Freedom Week, the Save North Korean Refugees Day 2023 protest was held at the PRC Embassy in Seoul. Over 200 people, including North Korean defectors, South Korean activists, South Korean private citizens, and the U.S. and Japanese delegations participated in the protest.
At the protest, multiple prominent North Korea human rights activists raised their voices to urge the PRC to stop its gruesome practice of the forced repatriation of the North Korean refugees.
The participants at the protest requested the PRC to provide safe passage to the North Korean refugees to South Korea and reaffirmed their commitment to standing with the North Korean refugees until they can enjoy freedom.
“These people (North Korean defectors) who are with us today are freedom fighters. Some of them lost their children or family members on their journey to freedom. We should never stay silent for these people.”Mr. Huh Kwang-il, Chair of the Committee for the Democratization of North Korea.
Suzanne Scholte, Chair of the North Korea Freedom Coalition, had an interview with Channel A on the issue of the forced repatriation of North Korean refugees.
After the protest, some of the North Korea human rights activists and Suzanne hand-delivered a letter to the PRC Embassy in Seoul asking it to stop forcibly repatriating the North Korean refugees to North Korea.
The United Kingdom: Christian Solidarity Worldwide
The Christian Solidarity Worldwide based in London participated this year again to deliver the NKFC appeal to the PRC Embassy in London and the PRC General Consulates in Belfast, Edinburgh, and Manchester.
The CSW tried to hand-deliver the appeal, but the PRC Embassy refused to accept it. Instead, the CSW posted a video to raise awareness on the issue and published an article on its website.
The United States of America:
California: Some North Korea Freedom Coalition members reside in California participated in the 2023 Save North Korean Refugees Day and delivered the NKFC appeal to the PRC General Consulates in their region. Sam Kim and Rand Millar of the Korean Church Coalition for North Korea Freedom represented Los Angeles and Maria Cartwright represented Sacramento.
“The petition we will seek to hand-deliver to the consular staff at 443 Shatto Place tomorrow about noon. If that does not work, then per plan B we will mail it. It is conceivable that by then we may have gathered an additional page of signatures. Best for a strong finish to your week in Seoul!”Rand Millar
Chicago: Sally Jo Messersmith, a member of the North Korea Freedom Coalition, delivered the NKFC appeal to the PRC General Consulate in Chicago.
“I went to the Chinese embassy. They were closed but I put my letters, that were signed by about 75 other individuals between the two letters, into the mailbox. We met with Grayson and Grace and her family at the Tribune Tower. We worshiped and prayed and handled our information to many individuals. The presence of God was very strong. I really felt like I made new friends. The opportunity to bring awareness concerning North Korean Refugees to 100’s of people from all over the world was a dream come true. I engaged in some in depth conversations with a few individuals. I asked Seth Palmer to accompany me. He is a missionary friend to Africa who is like a little brother to me. We rode the subway in from Michigan City and not really knowing where the Chinese Embassy was at, I felt it was wise not to go alone. I was so thankful I went and felt like I was walking in the pathway God wanted me to follow.”Sally Jo Messersmith
New York: PSALT NK helped us deliver our appeal to the PRC General Consulate in New York.
“There is not much we can do at the NYC Consulate anymore. There’s always a police presence there. Much has changed since the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and some of the destructive protests that took place at the time by some of the many groups impacted by the CCP’s inhumane governance. Now you have NYC cops assigned to protecting the dignity of the Chinese Consulate. We also held two prayer gatherings that Friday at 9:30am and 12noon, as well as had corporate prayer meetings at 12pm – 1pm every day that week, in addition to those who signed up to pray on the prayer chain throughout the week.”PSALT NK Representative
Washington, DC: Pastor Star Lee of the Esther Prayer Movement and Euni Evensen, a member of the North Korea Freedom Coalition, organized a successful rally at the PRC Embassy in Washington D.C. and delivered our appeal.
With media presence, 17 people participated in the rally, condemning the PRC’s forced repatriation of the North Korean refugees, and marching around the PRC Embassy.
“Because of the ongoing war, people’s interests in over 2,000 North Korean refugees who are detained in the PRC have been waning. Approximately 600 North Korean refugees were already forcibly sent back to North Korea by the PRC. We must continue to pray for around 2,000 North Korean refugees who are still in the PRC.”Pastor Star Lee
The rally was concluded with a group prayer for the North Korean refugees in the PRC.
Pastor Star Lee and his team created an informative video on the issue of the forced repatriation of North Korean refugees in the PRC.
Pastor Star Lee recently had an interview with the Sang Sang Media on the PRC’s forced repatriation of North Korean refugees. In his interview, he urged the PRC to stop forcibly sending the North Korean refugees back to North Korea:
ACTION CONTINUES since Save North Korean Refugees Day
Addendum I. Washington DC
On October 16th, as part of our efforts to rescue the North Korean refugees who are currently detained in the PRC, North Korea human rights activists held a rally in front of the White House to condemn the PRC for clandestinely sending back approximately 500 North Korean refugees to North Korea and urge the international community, including the U.S. government, to stop the PRC’s attempts to forcibly repatriate North Korean refugees back to North Korea.
South Korean National Assemblyman Thae Young-ho joined the protesters to raise his voice for the North Korean refugees in the PRC and requested President Biden to get involved in the issue.
“The South Korean government alone cannot stop the forced repatriation. The American government should join the campaign and urge the Chinese government to stop it.”National Assemblyman Thae Young-ho
Addendum II. Los Angeles
Our efforts to free the North Korean refugees who are currently detained in the PRC are continuing. On October 20th, Lawrence Peck, North Korea Freedom Coalition Advisor, held a rally in front of the PRC Consulate in Los Angeles.