Today, the Chinese Foreign Ministry has denied the torture of Kim Young Hwan, researcher at Network for North Korean Democracy and Human Rights (NKnet), stating, “Our investigation of Kim Young Hwan was in full accordance with the law and ensured his legal rights.”
According to the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, “China’s National Security Agency investigated this case following appropriate legal procedure and therefore assured the rights of the South Koreans,” Adding, “Our assessment on the matter has already been sent to the South Korean government.”
This is the first official position regarding Kim Young Hwan’s accusations that China has offered since the researcher initially revealed “[during my detention] there was physical mistreatment, such as depriving me of sleep for long hours.” Researcher Kim claims that one condition of his release was that he remains silent on the torture he was subjected to during his detainment.
It is highly likely that diplomatic clashes will occur between South Korea and China in the future, should China continue to deny the torture of Kim Young Hwan. The South Korean government intends to press the issue, in order to ascertain whether or not severe mistreatment of their citizens can be confirmed. However, obtaining evidence will be difficult. As negative public opinion grows both domestically and abroad, it is likely that the Chinese government will have to give further explanation.
North Korean human rights organizations pointed out that the international community must urge the Chinese government to apologize for using torture against Kim, as well as push for the prevention of future violations on human rights activists and improvements on human rights in China.
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