December 09, 2023

‘I can’t lose her too’: Family fears for loved one forcibly sent to North Korea

Kim Cheol-ok was repatriated after 25 years in China. Now her family is looking for answers about her fate.

For months, the crisis surrounding China’s looming forced repatriation of North Korean defectors has proceeded like a slow-motion train wreck. Human rights activists have warned that China has detained thousands of DPRK citizens and the U.N. and South Korean government have called on Beijing to refrain from sending them back to face likely torture and interrogation.

But the news that China repatriated Kim Cheol-ok earlier this month has hit her family like a locomotive at full speed.