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Here are some more tidbits on the North Korean defectors front.
- Graduates of Yeomyung School, a South Korean charter school for North Korean defector children, created the most successful online petition to date. At www.savemyfriend.org, a petition to the officials of the United Nations, European Union and the United States has garnered more than 127,000 signatures so far. Please take your time to sign the petition, and share them on your Facebook and Twitter. It will only take a minute.
|Cha In-Pyo (center) protesting in front of the Chinese embassy.|
- The Chinese government is stonewalling. There are reports that nine of the 28 North Korean defectors were already repatriated, although other reports say they are still in China. The Chinese government has refused to verify the whereabouts of those defectors. In a regular briefing held on the 24th, Chinese government official only repeated that China has been handling the issue "in accordance with domestic law, international law and humanitarian principles." When asked which humanitarian principles were followed when China previously repatriated North Korean defectors, the spokesman only repeated that China has been keeping with the principles.
- Korean government is considering what may end up being an extremely helpful measure: issuing temporary South Korean travel certificate to any North Korean defector in China. With the travel certificate, even if the defector is arrested by Chinese police, s/he can credibly claim that s/he is a South Korean citizen. Even if the claim is less than completely credible, it may provide enough cover for the Chinese police to receive bribes and let the defector go. (Apparently, right now the going price is 100,000 yuan per person -- approximately $16,000.)
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