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在线翻译:
szdaily -> World
N. Korean defector, ‘treated like dirt’ in South, fights to return
    2017-August-7  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

DIVORCED and out of money, Kwon Chol-nam fled North Korea for China in 2014 by wading across a river border at night and then crawling over a barbed-wire fence. After a perilous trek that included walking through a jungle in Laos, he reached Thailand, where he was allowed to fly to South Korea to start a new life.

After all that trouble and danger, Kwon now wants South Korea to allow him to return home to the North.

Kwon says he has grown disillusioned with life in the capitalist South, where he says North Korean defectors like him are treated like second-class citizens.

“They called me names, treating me like an idiot, and didn’t pay me as much as others doing the same work, just because I was from the North,” Kwon said.

To press his unusual demand, he has held news conferences, submitted petitions to the United Nations and demonstrated with signs in front of government buildings in Seoul.

More than 30,000 North Koreans have fled to South Korea since a famine hit their homeland in the 1990s. Of them, 25 have mysteriously resurfaced back in the North in the past five years.

South Korean officials suspect these “repeat defectors.”

There, the government arrange for them to speak out against the “living hell” they said they had experienced in the South.

Kwon tried to find his own way back to the North, but that effort only landed him in jail in the South for a few months. Like all defectors, he became a South Korean citizen upon arriving here, and it is illegal for any South Korean to visit the North without government permission.

Now, he is openly asking the South to repatriate him, only the second defector to make such an appeal. Kim Ryen-hi, a dressmaker from the North, has been on a similar campaign since 2015.

For defectors like Kwon who have failed to adjust to life in the South and want to return to the North, there is no legal way to do so.

“These cases highlight the complexity of the family separation issue that started 70 years ago — and the fact that it continues to take new forms and affect people in the Korean Peninsula in profound ways,” said Tomas Ojea Quintana, the United Nations’ special rapporteur on human rights in North Korea, who met Kwon in July.

(SD-Agencies)

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