Thousands of North Koreans have fled to China in search of a better life. Some try to leave permanently as they seek freedom; others cross the border in search of jobs or food so they can return and support their starving families. However, reaching China does not mean freedom or safety because the Chinese government has agreed to repatriate all refugees back to North Korea.
Refugees who are forcibly repatriated to North Korea are brutally interrogated. Depending on their responses, they are either executed or imprisoned in one of North Korea’s many political prison camps.
In direct conflict with the repatriation agreement between the two governments, China is also a signatory to the 1951 UN Convention on the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol. This Refugee Convention dictates that China must grant the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) access to the region between China and North Korea where most of the North Korean refugees are in hiding.
China however refuses to allow the UNHCR access! The Chinese government justifies their actions by calling the refugees “economic migrants.” In addition China’s police actively seek North Korean refugees and assist in the interrogation, beatings, and imprisonment of the refugees.
Those who are not caught and sent back to North Korea are in danger of abuse by the local Chinese population. Threatened with discovery many North Korean women are forced into sex brothels or sold to men as sexual slaves or wives. Some are forced into slave labor.
To make matters even more difficult, North Koreans who escape are told to seek refuge at Christian churches. But, in some instances, North Korean and Chinese agents pose as pastors or Christians to lure the North Koreans out of hiding to collect financial rewards for turning them in. There are even reports of mock churches set up to attract and capture refugees.
* Pray for divine protection for refugees who are escaping North Korea and for those hiding in China.
*North Korea Freedom Coalition (NKFC) is holding a protest in Washington in response to Chinese President Hu Jintao & President Obama meeting today. Please pray for this protest.
* Pray that God will guide the refugees to genuine churches and safe houses.
* Pray for the wisdom and protection of Christian missionaries and humanitarian workers who are helping care for these refugees.
* Pray for the refugees in China; that they will escape the exploitive situations many of them are in. Pray specifically for the women who are being sexually exploited and for the refugees who are being used for slave labor. Pray that God would change the hearts of their exploiters.
* Pray also for the border guards, that their seeing eyes may be made blind.
* Pray that those who flee will be able to build better lives for themselves outside of North Korea.
* Pray that China will allow the UNHCR to have access to the North Korean refugees and that they will stop the forcible repatriation of these refugees.
* Pray that God will be glorified through the love shown to these refugees, and that every act of courage and compassion will bring glory to Him.
…Make your shadow like night – at high noon. Hide the fugitives, do not betray the refugees…. The oppressor will come to an end, and destruction will cease; the aggressor will vanish from the land. – Isaiah 16:3-4