London to Join Global Protest for North Korean Refugees in China

The North Korea Freedom Coalition is staging a protest on Saturday 2 December against China's violent repatriation of North Korean refugees.

A protest and prayer vigil, backed by Open Doors International, will take place outside the Chinese Embassy in London at 11.30am, and will coincide with similar protests taking place at midday in at least 14 cities in 11 countries throughout Europe, America, and also Australia and South Korea.

Open Doors is urging as many people as possible to stand with Eddie Lyle, CEO of Open Doors UK & Ireland and other protestors outside the Chinese Embassy in London.

During the protest a Letter of Concern will be handed in at midday to the Ambassador, Mr Zha Peixin urging the Chinese government to live up to their obligations under the 1951 UN Refugee Convention under which North Korean refugees hiding in China should be protected.

Eddie Lyle explained: "The more people who gather to protest, the more we will clearly demonstrate our nation's concern for suffering North Korean refugees in China who continue to be hunted down by Chinese authorities and forcibly returned to North Korea where they face torture, imprisonment and even execution for the 'crime' of leaving their country.

"We know from former refugees and jailed humanitarian workers that these protests have given them tremendous hope, in making them aware that people care and are trying to help improve their circumstances."

Contrary to the 1951 Convention, China is deporting refugees back to North Korea where they will be received as 'traitors'.

Although the 1951 Convention prescribes free access to the refugees, China does not allow the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) free access to North Korean refugees.

Open Doors tells Christian Today that, "China not only hunts down refugees, but it also hunts down and jails its own citizens, including South Koreans and Americans, for helping these refugees."

Kim Tae Jin, a North Korean who escaped to China, was found by Chinese authorities after eight months and repatriated without mercy, tells Open Doors.

He wasn't a Christian at the time and said he wasn't tortured much, unlike other prisoners, particularly, prisoners of conscience. He described how the leg of one prisoner was amputated after it was caught by frostbite, Open Doors says.

Kim described his detention: "They beat me with sticks, and I was given hardly anything to eat, nor was I allowed to relieve myself, simply because I did not follow their orders. I had to sit all day in the same position, which made my legs hurt incredibly. Besides this, we were not allowed to wash or to clean our teeth. The lice were jumping all over us day and night. At night, I had to survive despite the fleas, lice and the severe cold. A torn blanket hardly afforded any protection."

In addition, Eddie Lyle will make a separate visit to the North Korean Embassy in Ealing where he will deliver a Letter of Concern to North Korean Ambassador to UK, Mr Ri Yong Ho.