Sunday, April 27, 2008

Olympic torch protest plans for Seoul

The torch has arrived in the South Korean capital. The South Korean torch relay will be a wake-up call to the misery and deprivations suffered by the citizens of China's closest ally. North Korean exiles are determined to block bridges and obstruct the relay. South Korea has deployed 8,000 police officers to guard the route. AFP reports:

"We're going to try to stop the relay," said refugee Choi Hye-Jeong, who tearfully added she was tortured by North Korean authorities when Chinese officials forced her to return to her country several years ago.

"I get enraged every time I think of what they did to me. I won't let this relay happen as planned," she told Yonhap.

As the prospect of hunger or even mass starvation looms in North Korea, more people will surely try to escape into China. Will South Korea and the world continue to tolerate China's policy of repatriating these exiles? The deteriorating situation in North Korea -- prompted by global food shortages -- may well be the major event of 2008.

China has sent as many as 18,000 North Korean refugees back to North Korea over the past 15 years according one report. Reports indicate that some of these people have been executed for escaping North Korea. South Korea's past disregard for the fate of escaped North Koreans in China -- justified by the "Sunshine Policy" of the previous government in Seoul -- was a disgrace.

I am afraid the excessive security on the streets of Seoul today could cause the North Korean exiles to resort to drastic and dangerous tactics in order to be heard. There is such a thing as too much security for an event like this. Let us hope nobody gets seriously hurt.

1 comment:

  1. It is ridicules to complain about China in sending back illegal immigrants or trans-passers to where-ever they come from. There is something called a 'immigration law' in China too you know. And why should China treat people of different origins differently? Further more many of the so called refugees were political or religious converts, and why should China get involved in someone-else's political war? If the various groups in South Korea have the ability to persuade people to risk their lives and leave the North, they should also take the responsibility of their safe passage to the South. Blaming their own failures on a third country that has nothing to do with their war is just plainly ridicules. Why don't they send a boat to North and smuggle people out that way? Afraid of losing their own lives?


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