China arrested dozens of North Korean defectors, says South Korean media

Chinese authorities arrested some 35 North Korean refugees this month, reported the Seoul-based Chosun Ilbo

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 21 November, 2013, 12:55pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 21 November, 2013, 1:13pm

China has arrested more than 30 North Korean defectors since the beginning of November, reported one of South Korea’s main newspapers on Thursday.

In addition to the 13 refugees arrested in Kunming, Yunnan province last week, authorities detained five defectors near Beijing, seven in Shenyang and around 10 in Yanji and Dandong earlier this month, said Chosun Ilbo, citing an anonymous South Korean activist who helps defectors in China.

The five North Koreans arrested near Beijing on November 7 were traveling on a bus from Tianjin and they were trying to escape to South Korea until public security officials checked their bus and detained them. They were sent back to North Korea and were being questioned in Sinuiju, said the activist.

Except for those detained in Kunming, most of the refugees detained in China so far this month have already been repatriated to North Korea, noted the paper.

The 13 defectors detained in Kunming were transferred to Dandong, a city near the border with North Korea, said the paper. Some of them were believed to have been repatriated but the Chosun Ilbo said it was unable to confirm their deportation.

Recently, in order to clamp down on North Korean defectors, China distributed guidelines to front-line public security officials instructing them to handle North Korean refugees in the same manner as they would treat major criminals against the state, a source in North Korea told the Seoul-based paper.