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China’s Hebei Province issues temporary residency permits to defectors

Police in parts of China’s Hebei Province are issuing temporary residency permits to defectors who have lived in China for a decade or more, Daily NK has learned.

“Some defectors in a part of Hebei Province recently received temporary residence permits from the police. The defectors who received the permits are people who can prove that they’ve been living in China for more than ten years,” a source in China told Daily NK on Monday, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Defectors say that in order to obtain temporary residency, they must apply for the permit in person at the police station and prove that they have lived in China for at least ten years.

One defector who has lived in Hebei Province for over a decade received a temporary residence permit from her local police station earlier this month after providing a close Chinese friend as a character reference.

Along with the Chinese reference, the defector was able to prove that she had an 11-year-old child with a Chinese citizen, which enabled her to obtain the temporary residence permit, the source said.

The temporary residence permit is issued on an A4-sized piece of paper with personal information (including name, gender, date of birth and place of residence) and a police stamp. The permit must be reissued every year.

Defectors with temporary residence permits are allowed to move freely within China, but are prohibited from leaving the country.

Sudden issuance of permits sparks concern among defector community

However, many defectors in Hebei Province are suspicious of why the police are issuing temporary residency permits.

The source said that one defector was concerned that Chinese authorities could use the personal information they collected for the permit to arrest and repatriate her if requested by North Korea. As a result, some defectors believe it is better not to obtain the residency permit, even if it prevents them from traveling freely.

Defectors complain that even with the temporary residency permit, their freedom of movement is still not guaranteed. When they travel, they are still subject to inspections at major checkpoints, where they are questioned about their destination and means of transportation. Some defectors are reluctant to go through the hassle of having their permits reissued every year, since the authorities are undoubtedly gathering information about their whereabouts anyway.

“More defectors in Hebei Province are not planning to obtain residency permits because they think there’s some ulterior motive behind their issuance or because they assume they will face the same restrictions and surveillance whether they have a permit or not,” the source said.

The source quoted a defector in her thirties as saying, “No one can convince me that the Chinese authorities are trying to make things easy for us by denying us asylum and repatriating us to North Korea instead. The only way to enjoy peace and security in our lives is to reach South Korea, but that is frustratingly difficult and expensive.”

The source added: “Unless the Chinese government grants defectors full residency status, there’s no way to fully alleviate their fear of repatriation. That’s why defectors are desperately hoping that a safe way to Korea will open up.”

Daily NK works with a network of sources living in North Korea, China, and elsewhere. Their identities remain anonymous for security reasons. For more information about Daily NK’s network of reporting partners and information-gathering activities, please visit our FAQ page here.

Please send any comments or questions about this article to dailynkenglish@uni-media.net.

Read in Korean

June 27, 2024 at 08:00AM

by DailyNK(North Korean Media)

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