SEOUL— Following the repatriation of three Falun Gong refugees in July, South Korean government is said to be planning to deport two other Falun Gong practitioners to China. Critiques say the repatriation violates the Refugee Agreement and the United Nations Convention against Torture, both of which Korea ratified.
The two Falun Gong practitioners, now detained in the Cheong-Ju City Detention Center, were earlier denied their refugee applications. Due to the on-going persecution of Falun Gong in China, they were not able to go back to China to obtain documents for the application. But one of the practitioners was told that the real reason for the rejection of their applications was “pressure from above.”
Another source confirmed that the recent sudden repatriations were not ordered by the Minister of Justice, but by higher authorities. The deported Falun Gong practitioners and their supporters suspect the Chinese communist regime is behind the repatriations.
The Korean government’s apparent submission to China has raised concerns among the Korean people; a businessman who identified himself as Mr. Kim said the repatriation was a wrong decision. “As a democratic country, we should protect the Falun Gong practitioners,” Kim said. “The government’s decision [of repatriation] is a step backward for our democracy. All Korean people should unite to correct this mistake.”
A Korean finance professional named Park said it is inhumane to send people back to persecution. “Though Korea is doing business with China, it is absolutely wrong for the Korean government to yield to political pressure and force the refugees back to China,” he said, after learning about the case.