Urgent Appeal for North Korean activist facing trial in China on Monday

China Aid Association
It is with much sadness that we
write to ask for your help in seeking the protection and release of a very brave
North Korean man, Mr Yoo Sang-joon. Mr Yoo tragically lost his young son as he
tried to escape from China
and has since been trying to rescue other North Koreans from danger in
China. Sadly he was arrested near the
Mongolian border and we have just heard that
Mr Yoo is due to be tried in Inner Mongolia, China at 9 am on Monday 26th November

Mr Yoo’s arrest and story were
reported in The Sunday Times on 18th November 2007. The article ‘Death awaits
Korea’s escape mastermind’ can be
viewed at
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article2891008.ece. Mr Yoo
visited the United
Kingdom to share his story at the invitation of
CSW in November 2002 and his heartbreaking experiences have often been key in
highlighting the tragedy of life for North Koreans. Mr Yoo’s wife and youngest
son died in the North Korean famine. Severely weakened by the famine himself, Mr
Yoo realised that the same fate was likely to befall him and his remaining son,
Chul Min, if they stayed in North Korea. Despite the high risks
involved, they fled to China where they suffered much
hardship. Unable to travel together, Chul Min, aged 10, attempted to escape
across the Mongolian border. However, unfamiliar with the inhospitable terrain,
he wandered for 26 hours and, suffering from dehydration and weakened from the
famine, he tragically died before crossing the Mongolian border. 

We are naturally gravely concerned
for Mr Yoo’s welfare. Activists in South Korea consider this a unique
case, highlighting both the tragic background and the redemptive sacrificial
motivation of Mr Yoo. Clearly his own loss has motivated immense humanitarian
concern for others at risk and we sincerely hope that China will not punish Mr
Yoo for simply seeking to implement the protection which China should be
providing as a party to the UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and
its Protocol. Although Mr Yoo is now a South Korean citizen, the broad
international nature of the issues concerned, alongside the concerns expressed
for his welfare as a North Korean, are prompting urgent calls for international
intervenion with China before the trial on Monday to
seek his protection. Those close to Mr Yoo hope that the outcome could be a
swift deportation to South
Korea as opposed to other more grim
possibilities. The trial date has come unusually quickly and it is felt that the
Chinese may be seeking to deal with the issue swiftly before further
international attention is attracted, especially in the light of the forthcoming
Beijing Olympics.

We would be most grateful if you
could write to the Chinese authorities to convey your concern for Mr Yoo as a
matter of urgency before the trial on Monday. Addresses are provided below. As
time is very short for messages to be conveyed to the relevant authorities in
China by the end of the week, we
would be grateful if you could use the fastest forms of communication, including
fax where available.

Lobbying addresses:
Her Excellency Ms Fu Ying,
Embassy of the People’s Republic of China to the UK,
49-51 Portland

London W1N 1JL
(Salutation: Your
Fax: +44 (0)20 7636 2981 / 5578
[email protected]
Tel: +44
(0)20 7299 4049, 07970 292561 (24 hours)

If you are writing from outside the
UK please refer to the following link
for the relevant embassy address:
Minister of Justice
Ms Wu

Ministry of Justice,
No. 10 Nan

Da Jie,
Beijing City 100020
People’s Republic of

Fax: +86 10 6472 9863

Email: [email protected] legalinfo.gov.cn[email protected]
Tel: +86 10 6520 5114
Prime Minister Wen
PO Box
The State Council, Beijing 100017,
People’s Republic of

Fax: +86 10 6596 1109

Email: [email protected]
Tel: +86 10 6601 2399

China Aid Contacts
Rachel Ritchie, English Media Director
Cell: (432) 553-1080 | Office: 1+ (888) 889-7757 | Other: (432) 689-6985
Email: [email protected] 
Website: www.chinaaid.org

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