North Korean defectors vowed Saturday to disrupt the South Korean leg of the Olympic torch relay in protest of China's repatriation of refugees to the North where they could face execution.On Thursday a freighter loaded with arms destined for Zimbabwe's dictator was turned around. Tibet is only a fraction of the story with regards to China's unsavory policies concerning the welfare and rights of non-Chinese.
The demonstration would add to the chorus of protests that has dogged the torch's global tour, focusing attention on unrest in Tibetan areas of China and Beijing's human rights record.
Han Chang Kwon, head of a coalition of groups representing North Korean defectors in South Korea, told The Associated Press that the protest at the Seoul relay on Sunday could become violent. He did not elaborate.
The flame was set to arrive in Seoul early Sunday from Japan and head to Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, on Monday.
Han said the defectors in South Korea were "boiling with anger" because some who escaped to China from the North had been repatriated. . . .
"While trying to improve its image with the Olympics, it (China) keeps sending defectors to the North knowing they will be executed or sent to political prisons," Han said.
A South Korean aid group, Good Friends, claimed last month that the North executed 15 people in February for attempting to flee or helping others escape the country, and the Amnesty International urged Pyongyang to halt such summary executions.*
In the case of North Korea, the country is facing the prospect of another famine. Will the world party it up in Beijing in August, if just a few hundred kilometers away, North Koreans face starvation? The turn of events concerning China's closest ally could yet amount to the real deal-breaker concerning the Beijing Olympics.
* Associated Press