Monthly Archives: April 2008

China and North Korean Refugees

All the talk these days is about China’s cracking down on Tibetans, and it is a terrible thing to witness.

Recently, China is claiming that the Tibetan protestors are puppets whose strings are being pulled by foreign religious elements, as a way of downplaying the situation and as an excuse to investigate and shut down churches or other groups who have any foreign involvement.

Related to this, things are getting worse in regard to China’s deplorable treatment of North Korean refugees and those who try to assist them inside China.

China has been known to send refugees, who have escaped North Korea’s police state into China,back to NK, to be imprisoned or tortured or killed by the authorities there, or to simply starve to death due to the conditions there.

Now China is recruiting more informants to report North Korean defectors by offering a reward equivalent to the average annual income in China, for each North Korean defector reported.

Added to that bad news, the punishment has been made more severe for those in China extending help to North Korean defectors. Instead of being fined, they now face the threat of imprisonment.

Of course, if China wereto follow justice (and the international refugees convention)they would protect the North Korean refugees, give them asylum or allow them to move on to other countries safely, and allowpeople to assist them.

Here is a letter I have written to the Chinese Embassy:

Dear Sir or Madam:

I am writing in protest, upon learning that China is making punishments more severe for people who extend assistance to North Korean defectors.

I understand they face prison sentences now, rather than fines.
I believe that North Korean defectors are refugees who should be protected as such under the international refugees convention.

Anyone helping such refugees should be permitted to do so, as North Korea does not respect the rights of its people. Please end the threat of prison sentences for those who help North Korean defectors.

Additionally, North Korean refugees must not be repatriated as they face death or harsh penalties by the NorthKorean government for attempting to leave. North Korea does not respect human rights, these individualsneed to be protected as refugees.

Most of the world is sympathetic to the plight of North Korean defectors, and sees them as refugees. Please show that you respect human rights, and protect them, and do not punish those who give them assistance.

Thank you.

I sent this to

Feel free to write to them yourself.

I sent this to:

Feel free to write to them yourself.

To send a letter (snail mail) to the Ambassador in Washington, write to:

Ambassador:  Zhou Wenzhong




Or telephone him at: 1-202-328-2500,  or 328-2551 .

For more information,  see:


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Horton Hears A Who: Good for the Whole Family

We read the reviews that indicated that Horton Hears A Who was a good film and had nothing offensive for children, and so we took our five-year-old twins to see it. We all enjoyed it very much.

The story, as in the original Dr. Seuss book, is about aheroic dedication to justice, no matter the cost. Also, as Scott Holleran wrote at Box Office Mojo – click here –  it upholds careful thinking and learning about all the evidence rather than following pre-existing assumptions, tradition, or faith. It alsoupholds the value of the presumption of innocence until proven guilty, and of respecting every individual’s right to live regardless of non-essentials (“A person’s a person, no matter how small”). Obviously, in the story, any creatures that think, talk and act like human beings are considered persons.

This film contrasts dramatically with the offensive movie destruction of How The Grinch Stole Christmas of a few years ago(surprisingly directed by the usually talented Ron Howard). That film was full of vulgarity and it stretched out and undercutthe climax so that anyimpact was dissipated. I heard similar atrocities were committed against The Cat in The Hat ina recent version.

I understand the animators of Horton had previously created the film Ice Age, which I did not likebecause of too much vulgarity and scenes of torturous pain, inappropriate for children and unpleasant for me. Here with Horton Hears A Who, they clearly made an effort to be classier, and sensitive and respectful to the original material. However, there is a short preview of an Ice Age sequel before the Horton movie starts, and it is slightly disturbing for small children, but to a relatively minimal extent.

Incidentally, the same story is the major plotline in the musical Seussical. We took our children to see the shortened-for-children 90 minute version (or was it 60 minutes?) of Seussical when it played New York for free last summer and they loved it too. And the Seussical Broadway Cast Album became a great favorite.

In fact, our children have seen and loved every version of Horton Hears A Who, including the original book, and the superb Chuck Jones animated TV special.

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