[EDITORIALS]An act against human rightsThe Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said that seven North Korean refugees who were held in a Chinese prison for North Korean refugees have been sent back to North Korea recently. The ministry added that it has asked the Chinese government to exercise its influence through diplomatic channels so that they will not receive any punishment in North Korea.
If one thinks about the desperation they must have felt when they were sent back, it is just so sad. Starting in March, these seven people went on a hunger strike, expressing their strong wish to be sent to South Korea. Since then, what have we done for them? It was our society’s indifference to them that sent them back.
What is even more pitiful is the attitude shown by our government. Falling in line with the official Chinese response, the foreign ministry has repeatedly denied the press reports that these North Koreans are on a hunger strike.
Regarding the concern that the North Koreans might be send back to North Korea, the ministry said that such a thing would not happen and that solving the matter quietly is more practical. Now, the ministry says that China notified it on Monday that the North Koreans have been sent to North Korea as they requested, on their own free will, to see their families. What a fiasco. One cannot avoid suspecting that the government, emphasizing a quiet solution, lost the timing and brought such a tragic result upon itself.
If the ministry were truly interested in the North Koreans, it would have intervened when the hunger strike began and used all its power to prevent what has happened to them.
If the government knew at the time that these North Koreans would be sent back to North Korea it means it has lied to us. Otherwise, it only indicates how incompetent it is. The ministry needs to explain what kind of diplomatic efforts it made and how the Chinese decision came about. We need to investigate what happened, and if anyone acted irresponsibly, he should be punished.
Forced repatriation of the seven North Koreans is truly an act against human rights. The Chinese government should keep this in mind. China should consider its position in the international community and the responsibility that comes with it.