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Callings for the Immediate Release of Human Rights Activists Kim Young Hwan, Yu Jae Gil, Kang Shin Sam, and Lee Sang Yong

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. DIAZ-BALART. Mr. Speaker, today I want to bring attention to the cases of four human rights activists who have dedicated themselves to pro-democracy efforts in North Korea. Kim Young Hwan, Yu Jae Gil, Kang Shin Sam, and Lee Sang Yong reportedly were arrested in Dalian, in Communist China, and remain imprisoned by Communist China's Ministry of State Security in the Liaoning Province, near the border with North Korea.

These human rights activists are in serious danger. Many fear that Kim in particular, once a North Korean regime insider who has become one of the most outspoken advocates for freedom and human rights for the North Korean people, has been subjected to harsh interrogation and even torture by Chinese state security or North Korean security thugs. Even while living in South Korea, he often suffered harassment and intimidation for his activism and work on NKnet by pro-North Korean sympathizers. As the Daily NK reported on May 16, 2012, if Kim was transported to the Sino-North Korean border to be interrogated by North Korean agents, ``then what is the difference between throwing a piece of meat to a dog and handing Kim to the North Korean National Security Agency, whose men come and go from Dandong as if it were their own house?''

The conditions of the other three activists are unknown because they have been denied consular access to representatives of South Korea, and they have been refused family and attorney visits as well. Like Kim, they were arrested on March 29, 2012 under Communist China's nebulous ``threat to national security'' edict, but further reasons for their detainment have not been provided. There are well-founded concerns that they have undergone harsh interrogations.

I commend the ``Committee for the Release of North Korean Human Rights Activist Kim Young Hwan'' for raising awareness of this critical human rights issue, and urge human rights advocates to press for the immediate release of these brave pro-democracy activists.

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