fredag 21. juni 2019

China is cracking down on safe houses used by North Korean defectors, activists say

A network of secret routes and safe houses used by North Koreans to escape the brutal rule of Kim Jong Un via China could be under threat. Activists and organizations working with North Korean defectors say Beijing is increasingly cracking down on safe houses and there has been a recent uptick in the arrest of escapees.

The network was set up by Korean pastors inspired by the Underground Railroad, the secret passages enslaved African-Americans used to escape to free states from the late 1700s until the American Civil War. The arrests "have become more intense recently," said Ji Seong-ho, a defector and President of Now Action and Unity for Human Rights (NAUH), a group working to improve human rights conditions in North Korea. "There seems to be five to seven arrests (raids) each month. Refugees flee in a group so that is up to 20 to 30 people arrested every month," Ji said.