An official close to the Chinese Ministry of Public Security has reported that a group of 41 North Korean refugees arrested in and around Shenyang last month and held for a spell in a detention center near Tumen have indeed all been repatriated.
However, a further group of ten reported by Donga Ilbo today as having been repatriated to North Korea via Dandong and now being held by the National Security Agency (NSA) in Shinuiju appear unrelated to the 41.
The anonymous official told the Daily NK today, “Tumen detention center has been undergoing expansion work since the start of March, so there are no defectors there. Some were already repatriated and the rest were transferred to Longjing camp.”
He added that those transferred to Longjing have been transferred to Hoiryeong NSA, saying, “When Tumen camp started to come under international scrutiny they used the pretext of construction to send them to Longjing then repatriate them to North Korea. All 41 of the defectors in Tumen have been repatriated.”
The 41 were confirmed as being at the camp until the morning of February 28th. However, internal sources suggest the repatriations may have started very soon after, despite China already facing serious international criticism at the time.
One source in North Hamkyung Province reported news of one such group, saying, “On the 29th of last month, eight defectors were repatriated to Onsung NSA detention center. Their names, family status and sex are all that is known. They are one father and daughter, a mother and two children and three adult women.”
Another source from the region claimed that a second group was repatriated the same way just a few days ago, saying, “Nine defectors came to Onsung NSA on the 7th.” The group is said to have included three people arrested in Changchun last month, one of whom is a girl of five.