8 Asylum Seekers
at Shanghai American School
take women and children from shool
On Monday, the 27th of September, 8 North Korean
women and children entered the Elementary school building of the
Shanghai American School, where school administrators called Chinese
Police, then surrendered the refugees to the authorities.
Below is an email our organization received
directly from an eyewitness at the school, describing what happened.
That message is followed by a statement apparently issued by the
Hello, I'm a student at the Shanghai International
School. I wasn't sure if you knew that earlier this week on Monday
at approximately 3:40PM, 8 North Koreans sought asylum at our
school. I wasn't there during the incident, but they sent out
a letter to our parents saying that they were required to contact
the police and informed the 8 refugees that we would not stop
them if they tried to escape before the police got to the school,
but they didn't leave and by 5 PM, the police arrived.
They've now been taken into custody of the police
and as merely a student, I have no idea what will happen next
to them. I thought it'd be good to inform an organization such
as yours about the incident.
Thank you for your time.
Eye witnesses tell the following story:
They were traumatized and in shock. The teachers
and students had to stand by helplessly and watch the police physically
remove these woman and their children from the school. There was
lots of yelling and screaming and crying as they were dragged
away and put into police vans.
Official Report From Shanghai
At 3:40 PM today (9/27/04), eight people entered
SAS by climbing over the fence opposite the Elementary School's
main entrance. These eight, then proceeded to the Elementary School
reception area, where they approached faculty and staff members
with leaflets that stated that they were North Koreans seeking
asylum on our campus.
After being contained by our security guards
within the reception area of the Elementary School, the local
police were called. In the meantime, the group was informed through
a translator that SAS does not have status that would allow us
to grant political asylum and that according to local and consulate
regulations, we are required to inform the local authorities.
We informed them, however, that as an educational institution,
we would not prevent them from leaving the campus before the police
By 5.10 PM, a large number of police officials
had arrived at the school. The Superintendent ensured that all
concerned parties (School Board, Consulate and Public Security
Bureau) were informed. In addition, he made every effort to facilitate
a humane outcome between the local police and the members of the
group. The situation, however, fell within the jurisdiction of
the Public Security Bureau (PSB) and the group was physically
removed from the campus.
While there was no visible threat to our students,
faculty or property, this incident reinforces the importance of
security at SAS. To address issues such as this, our recently
formed Security Committee will review our current security systems
and procedure and make appropriate recommendations to the School
Board and Administration.
Shanghai American School
258 Jin Feng Lu,
Shanghai, China 201201
The above statement was quoted from the Chosun Journal website
Comment by LFNKR
We wish to thank the persons who sent their
email reports of this incident directly to our organization.
The Chinese authorities must immediately release
these women and children, and the US Government and US Embassy
must immediately confirm the details and protect the asylum seekers.
Life Funds for North Korean Refugees (LFNKR)
received on Sept. 29 the emails quoted above from Shanghai regarding
the eight North Koreans who were seized when they tried to seek
asylum at the Shanghai International American School. There have
been no further reports of their situation since the local police
carried them away.
LFNKR urges every person around the world with
an interest in human rights, whether journalist, NGO member, or
citizen, to hold the governments of both the United States and
China accountable for the safety of these North Korean refugees.
We urge the Chinese authorities to immediately release them and
strongly suggest that the US government and related authorities
take immediate action to protect these women and children.
Lastly, LFNKR urges the administrators of the
Shanghai American School in the strongest possible terms to understand
the plight of the North Korean people who flee into China and
ask them to take immediate steps to assure the future protection
of human rights and the exercise of humanitarianism, rather than
merely complying meekly with regulations.
Life Funds for North Korean Refugees
Life Funds for North Korean Refugees
A-101, 2-2-8 Nishikata, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0024