Beijing Olympics make life harder for North Korean merchants

According to previous reports, Beijing’s border control policies have stiffened up in preparation for the 2008 Olympics.  The Daily NK reports these policies are adversely affecting North Koreans visiting family and conducting business in Jilin.

The Daily NK claims that North Koreans pay appx. US$400-500 in bribes and processing fees to obtain a passport, exit visa, and Chinese entrance visa. (The article does not explain how these prices break down, although it would be interesting to know how much Beijing charges North Koreans for various visas.)  China typically issues North Koreans family visit visas which are valid for three months, but if a North Korean visitor can secure a residence and employment, this can be easily extended for up to a year.  As a result, many North Koreans stay with family for the full year and try to earn some money to take home.

Because of the Olympics, Beijing is now apparently rejecting all family visit visa extensions and stepping up patrols for illegal “visitors.”  This means the North Koreans who paid hefty sums to be in China have to go underground if they wish to stay in the PRC.  They will also face additional hardship in recovering “travel costs.”  Additionally, many North Koreans who are married to Chinese face greater chances of being deported.

Interestingly, this policy was not ordered by local organizations but by the Jilin Provincial Communist Party.

Read the full article here:
China Rounds Up Defectors in Preparation for the Olympics
Daily NK
Lee Sung Jin
7/26/2008

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