World News

China sends Christian escapees back to North Korea

China has sent 600 North Korean fugitives back in the last few weeks. They face torture, prison or death in North Korea.

Timothy Cho, co-secretariat of the UK All-Party Parliamentary Group on North Korea, has sent a letter to United Kingdom MPs prompting them to advance the subject in Parliament as a matter of grave affair. He is especially concerned about the Christians being returned to North Korea, who have escaped for religious reasons. Mr Cho himself is a refugee from North Korea who now works for Open Doors in the UK. He escaped North Korea as a teenager before being forcibly extradited, imprisoned and interrogated. He managed to escape a second time to China and even though they tried to extradite him again, Christian missionaries pleaded on his behalf, and he was deported to the Philippines. 

In his letter, Mr Cho wrote: “I urge you to encourage the British Government to initiate a dialogue with Chinese authorities to facilitate the deportation of the remaining North Korean refugees to third countries, rather than sending them back to North Korea. The punishment for anyone who has been associated with Christian churches or missionaries while they were in China is likely to be dealt with particularly severely, indeed, many are likely to be executed. North Korea is ranked as the most dangerous place in the world by Open Doors’ World Watch List ranking, and that’s with very good reason.”

Mr Cho hopes a Backbench Business Debate can be arranged on the issue in the House of Commons. “I was so lucky. If I had been returned to North Korea again, I would not be alive today. That’s a fate I want to spare my brothers and sisters, currently in prison in China.”




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