China Accused of Using N.Korean Slave Labor

中央日報

A senior U.S. State Department official on Tuesday accused China of accepting vast numbers of North Korean slave laborers to keep labor costs down.

Laura Stone, the acting deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, told U.S. lawmakers, "I'm familiar with the fact that in the past China certainly has accepted a large number of laborers from North Korea because the North Korean laborers do not have the ability to keep their salaries and have any kind of freedom. We do consider them to be slave laborers."

"One of the things that we've worked [on] with our like-minded partners on the UN Security Council resolutions is to ensure that... new [North Korean] labor going into a country has to be tapered off."

Many North Korean workers are in China illegally on one-month passes instead of passports to avoid UN sanctions, according to Radio Free Asia.

RFA reported that North Korean women are working in restaurants and karaoke bars and even North Korean artists are selling their works in the streets to earn hard currency in the Chinese border city of Dandong.

"The monthly pay is 2,000 to 2,500 yuan for each North Korean worker, but they receive only 700 to 800 yuan a month after they fork out a large sum to North Korean authorities," RFA quoted sources as saying.

In the end they get to keep around 500 yuan after a month of backbreaking labor because they also need to pay a bribe of 200 yuan to North Korea's State Security Department.

About 30,000 North Koreans are believed to be working in China.

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