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Thursday, January 13, 2005

You'd call this a "free-for-all" elsewhere

On Wednesday stories started breaking (here , here and here)about a press conference held for foreign correspondents in Beijing by South Korean "legislators" on a fact finding trip mission "raided" by Chinese "government agents" who cut the lights and the microphones, shoved and ejected foreign reporters and locked the doors. The story got surprisingly light coverage.

The South Korean delegates were investigating a spate of recent incidents, as well as the ongoing situation, of North Korean refugees who had escaped over the border to China trying to make it to South Korea. In December, North Korean refugees entered a Japanese school seeking asylum to avoid deportation to North Korea by the Chinese. In North Korea, they face harsh punishment or even execution.

From (Australian)
Four members of South Korea's opposition Grand National Party had called the news conference on Wednesday to urge Beijing to show leniency towards refugees from North Korea and to release South Korean activists jailed for trying to smuggle them out of China.

The MPs refused Chinese orders to leave the room, bringing about a stand-off that lasted more than eight hours and continued late into the night.
From the Washington Post:
Four legislators from the [South Korea's opposition Grand National Party] on a fact-finding mission to China called a news conference Wednesday to urge Beijing to show leniency toward refugees from North Korea and to release South Korean activists jailed for helping them. But Chinese security agents cut the lights in the hotel meeting room, then shoved and pushed dozens of journalists out of the room. The men struck at least one photographer on the head.


As many as 200,000 North Koreans are believed to be living in China after fleeing repression and starvation in their homeland. Beijing says they are economic migrants, refuses to grant them refugee status and routinely sends those it apprehends back to North Korea, a communist ally.

// posted by Ellen @  14:58   //Permalink// 
Ellen says hey
Mainer, New Yawka, Beijinger, Californian, points between. News, views and ballyhoos that piqued my interest and caused me to sigh, cry, chuckle, groan or throw something.

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