By Bose Chan
China has officially announced that it’s ending its time-honored practice diplomatic practice of sending North Korean refugees back to the DPRK to face possible execution, with official Chinese government sources saying refugees being sent back is effectively “the end of their lives”.
The move comes amidst shifting realities in the relationship between the two socialist states who share a deep and complex history. China’s rising economic and military power makes her the most watched country on the global scene, and many have expectations of China taking on a greater role in international leadership and more significantly, a change in attitude towards political transparency and human rights issues.
Could the new policy change have come about as a result of China being left out of the loop regarding the rather roguish recent rocket launch? Human rights activists can celebrate the fact that poor communication between China and North Korea might’ve led to the end of refugee repatriation, which is an indication of the greater strain between China and the DPRK.
The National Post quotes an anonymous government source who claims the two states, like, totally aren’t BFF’s anymore:
“Our relationship with North Korea is no longer ‘If the lips are gone, the teeth will be cold’,” a second source with leadership ties said, quoting a Chinese idiom. “Nowadays, the teeth keep biting the lips, and it’s hurting.”