China may have intensified its lookout for North Koreans who have escaped the reclusive state to Chinese territory, a senior UN official said on Friday.
Activists and organizations working with North Korean defectors say Beijing is increasingly cracking down on safe houses used by escapees to flee the brutal rule of Kim Jong Un https://t.co/nw0zty9CNL
— CNN International (@cnni) June 21, 2019
Beijing currently works with Pyongyang to send escapees who are arrested in China back to the repressive regime, which subjects them to severe punishments such as imprisonment and torture.
And Tomas Ojea Quintana, the United Nations special rapporteur on human rights in the North, believes China “may have strengthened the search”.
Special Rapporteur Tomas Ojea Quintana:”Repatriation puts people’s lives at risk, breaks family ties, and further aggravates the dire situation of human rights in North Korea”.
— UN Human Rights in Seoul (@UNrightsSeoul) June 21, 2019
“I have been receiving an increasing number of individual cases of North Korean escapees, including children, detained in Shenyang City, in China’s Liaoning province,” he said.
“Information suggests that China may have strengthened the search for North Korean escapees.”
It was the first visit by the Chinese leader to the North in 14 years after years of relationships strained by Pyongyang’s nuclear tests
The impoverished but nuclear-armed nation stands accused by the UN of “systematic, widespread and gross” human rights violations that range from rape, torture, extrajudicial killings to running political prisoner camps.
Pyongyang calls such accusations anti-regime propaganda.
United Nation not Happy with China’s Move
The UN’s finding comes as Chinese President Xi Jinping wrapped up his two-day state visit to Pyongyang with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, showcasing the decades-old alliance “forged in blood” between the neighbors.
Saying that the blood of Chinese revolutionaries was in every stream and tree of Korea just as the souls of Korean revolutionaries remain across China, Comrade Kim Jong Un said the DPRK-China relationship was forged in militant friendship and genuine trust, not simply geography. pic.twitter.com/6el6gTW6tq
— Natalie Everhart 🇰🇵 (@NatalieRevolts) July 27, 2018
It was the first visit by the Chinese leader to the North in 14 years after years of relationships strained by Pyongyang’s nuclear tests and long-range missile launches despite Beijing’s objections.
Read more: Actress kidnapped by North Korea dies at 91
Despite a series of diplomatic events between China and North Korea over the past 14 months that included two North-US summits and three inter-Korean summit meetings, Ojea Quintana said human rights situation in the North remains “serious concern” and urged the North to address its human rights conditions.
AFP with additional input by GVS news desk