Seoul (AsiaNews) - A group of 31 South Korean celebrities have organized a public event in Seoul to prevent the repatriation of North Koreans arrested in China while trying to obtain political asylum in a third nation. The group (which includes about 30 people, including women and children) is detained in Tumen: Pyongyang has strongly requested Beijing to send them back and the Chinese government seems willing to accommodate the request. But if they return home, as exiles they are threatened with death.
Speaking at Yonsei University auditorium where the event took place, the famous actor Cha In-pyo said: "We are entertainers, not a political group. But we are here as brothers and sisters, worried about the life of these fugitives who risk deportation. Please we must commit to stop this happening. "On stage were Lee Mu-song and No Sa-youn, very famous singers in the country.
Popular comic, Park Mi-sun, said: "These people have fled for political reasons. They made their way towards the sun, because they could no longer stay in the cold and hunger. If we attract more and more attention to their case, perhaps we can save them. Please, cry with us: our compatriots are living in pain. "
The event had great resonance in South Korea The question of refugees from the North, who leave as asylum seekers from China to Seoul, is more complicated than it seems; concerned by an unregulated flow of immigration and the low education levels of North Koreans, the citizens of South relegate them to the last places in the social scale. The Catholic Church is very much committed to their integration, in anticipation of a future reunification.
Even the Chinese internet have come out in support of Tumen the exiles. On Weibo, the popular micro-blogging site, hundreds of appeals have appeared that directly criticize the government in Beijing for their return policy. A member of Shanghai has published a survey to ask what other surfers think should happen to the North Koreans, 75% of users responded that "they should not be sent home."