The Human Rights Context of North Korean Movement to China: Rights, Law, and Diplomacy
MetadataShow full item record
This thesis examines the geostrategic contexts that influence China’s policy decisions to not recognize North Korean escapees in China as refugees. Due to China’s unwillingness to recognize the rights of North Korean escapees, the international community criticizes China for its violations of international refugee laws. However, public censure has failed to persuade China to reconsider its treatment of North Korean escapees. This thesis argues that the complicated diplomatic relationships and entangled national interests between China, North Korea, and other concerned countries has resulted in the Chinese government not recognizing North Koreans in China as refugees. The author contends that rather than merely condemning or taking a hardline policy against China, the other states that want China to comply with refugee laws should maintain a dialogue and pursue cooperation to solve this refugee problem. Chapter 1 defines important terms regarding the North Korean refugee crisis and provides relevant background information. Chapter 2 analyzes conflicting views about this issue among key members of the international community such as the Statute of Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), North Korea and China. Chapter 3 illustrates China’s violations of international human rights laws while maintaining regional security and its economic benefits, despite international criticism. Chapters 4 to 6 demonstrate where the United States, South Korea, and China, respectively, stand on this issue in a geopolitical context. Along with literature from the west regarding China’s violations, this thesis incorporates China’s perspective based on literature from Korea and China to present more diverse perspectives on this matter. A new term to describe this particular group of North Koreans in China is proposed and used throughout this thesis: “North Korean Escapees in China (NKEC),” with consideration of their unique situation. This thesis hopes to speak on behalf of the many voiceless NKEC, and increase awareness among the international community of the deplorable situations that NKEC have to endure.