For decades now, the Chinese communist regime has been accused of being one of the world’s most repressive government in terms of human rights, along with the also communist regime that controls North Korea. 

It follows that their association could not be any less violating of the basic guarantees of the billions of people they control. 

In this case, it is the Mothers’ Association for Unification (Tongil Mom), a human rights group formed by women fleeing North Korea. It informs the world of the tragedy suffered by North Korean women living under the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). 

The suffering that these mothers endure is increased by the extradition agreement concluded between these two communist regimes. 

Tongil Mom recently presented a report “I want to hug my child!” based on five years of extensive research on the deplorable situation of these women. 

The report states when the women attempt to defect to China they are repatriated to North Korea, where “they are imprisoned, beaten, tortured, and have forced abortions perpetrated on them.”

It adds, “These women are forced to undergo abortions, are forced into human trafficking, are forced into employment in the sex trafficking industry, and are separated from their children.”

Likewise, the November 14 Secret China quotes Tongil Mom as denouncing the seriousness of the Chinese regime’s forced extradition of North Korean women who cross the border between the two countries in search of help, “Also, the human rights group has criticized the inhumane policy as a gross violation of human rights, which has caused great harm to women and children who have left the country, as well as Chinese nationals, and has resulted in the loss of countless mothers and children.”

Accounts from some of the victims

During the course of Tongil Mom’s investigation, many of the victims of these rapes gave their testimonies. Kim Jeong Ah, one of the representatives of this organization, participated in one of them. 

Kim fled North Korea in 2006 and fled through China, Burma and Thailand before arriving in South Korea in 2009. There, she graduated with a master’s degree in business administration from Ewha Women’s University. 

Two of her daughters live in North Korea and China, and she has not been able to see them for a decade. One of them said to her, “Mom, you don’t love me anymore, do you?” Kim’s tears flowed as she recalled her suffering. 

She then recounted how her third pregnancy was thwarted by her North Korean husband, who made her have an abortion even though she was already seven months pregnant. Her fourth child was luckier, because her Chinese husband adopted him. 

Eventually, she founded Tongil Mom and began helping the 2,000 North Korean defector mothers that the organization collects. These women’s stories are similar or even more tragic than Kim’s.

The negative emotional impact these mothers suffer continually torments them, wherever they are. Kim explains it,  “Many of the mothers feel ashamed and guilty for abandoning their children in China.”

She added that they don’t want to show it in front of people, but when they are alone they lock themselves in the bathroom or go to the mountains to scream; when I first came to [South] Korea, I couldn’t even cry.

In addition, North Korean women in China have a very low social status. This can be seen in the price men pay for them when they seek them out to form a household, or exploit them sexually, the price ranges from $400 to $700.

When it comes to Chinese women of rural origin, the price rises to $7,000, and those from the cities can cost $14,000. 

Although there are no official statistics on the number of North Korean women exploited under the Chinese regime, it is estimated to be between 200,000 and 500,000. 

Also, a report published in 2019 by the NGO Korea Future Initiative, and presented to the UK Parliament, highlights, the “vulnerability of women and girls as young as 12, who are being tricked into escaping North Korea only to be sold as sex slaves in China.”

The effect on children

As can be imagined, children born to North Korean mothers, immigrants, and the Chinese parents who buy them, are also victims of human rights violations.

On the one hand, the children become hostages of the families who buy their mothers. These families see the little ones as a guarantee that they will not escape easily, out of love for their children. 

But the children lack the rights granted to nationals by the CCP. The main reason is that the mothers’ identification is required to register them, but this would result in them being deported to North Korea, where they would surely be severely tortured. 

In this context, North Korean human rights advocate Sungju Lee, a defector from the North Korea, told a parliamentary group, “These children, with no basic human rights, live as if they are not existing.”

He also told of a 7-year-old boy living in Jilin Province, China, “The child was supposed to start going to school like other kids, but he wasn’t able to because he had no citizenship. He had no eduction and no friends.”

Lee added, “Even when he felt sick, [his mother] couldn’t take him to hospital.” Lee added, “And she said that was the most painful moment for a mother to watch.”

One report estimated that there were 30,000 children born to North Korean mothers, who escaped from their country’s regime, living in China without access to schooling, health care, or citizenship, according to deputies.

Who should be held accountable

Critics hold both communist regimes, the CCP and that of leader Kim Jong Un, responsible for egregious human rights abuses.

The Korea Institute for National Unification (KINU) believes, “China has continually breached its international obligations under the Refugee Convention” and that, “China violates the Torture Convention each time it repatriates North Korean refugee.”

In addition, the same document quotes a senior official as saying that in China, “its officials could be ‘aiding and abetting crimes against humanity.'”

Violations under the Chinese regime are not only committed against foreign women trafficked in China, but also against those detained in forced labor camps in Tibet, and enslaved Muslim women in Xinjiang, according to reports by Bitter Winter. 

These atrocities, committed against them routinely, suggest that this is a practice institutionalized by these regimes, which created a terrible “rape culture.”

The reports specify that guards in Tibetan re-education camps use electric cattle prods “to control and torture inmates, and it is common that they are used to rape women by inserting them in their private parts.”

They add, “This routinely happens to nuns, who are told that their bodies ‘belong to the CCP’ rather than to the monasteries.”

Virtually no ethnic or religious group escapes repression or abuse of their human rights by the Chinese regime. 

Even with the massive imposition of rigid policies in pursuit of “zero-COVID,” tens of millions of members of the Han ethnic group, the majority in the country, suffer the cruel consequences.

Simultaneously, social turbulence against the CCP’s arbitrary policies continues to grow unabated, to the extent that analyst Dr. Gordon Chang, wrote in one of his tweets on November 15, “China can erupt. Everyone on planet Earth has a stake in what happens—or doesn’t happen—as the Chinese people begin to break free from communist controls.”

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