On Wednesday, the first of September 2004, at
around 10:30 AM, a group of 29 North Korean refugees, which included
3 children, 15 women and 11 men, entered a Japanese school in
Beijing, and requested asylum.
That same afternoon, all refugees were transferred
to the consulate section of the Japanese embassy, where they are
being protected. In previous cases, once refugees are handed over
to Chinese authorities, within a few days they are repatriated
to North Korea, where they face severe punishment and in a few
extreme cases, summary execution.
Our organization, Life Funds for North Korean
Refugees and The Society to Help Returnees to North Korea have
no connection with this incident, other than as concerned parties,
but we wish to express deep concern regarding the safety of these
refugees. We strongly urge the Japanese government to take the