Unrest Erupts Among North Korean Labourers in China, Resulting in Government Official’s Death

A protest by unpaid North Korean factory workers employed illegally in China escalated, leading to the tragic death of a North Korean official visiting from Pyongyang. The employees were rallying against the unauthorized diversion of their wages, which had been unknowingly redirected to North Korea’s Workers’ Party without their consent.

Approximately 15 garment factories’ staff members were owed around $10 million in compensation for labour spanning 4 to 7 years that had gone unpaid. This incident sheds light on the challenges faced by North Korean migrant labourers in China, a situation exacerbated by the violation of United Nations sanctions prohibiting the employment of North Korean citizens.

The fatal incident occurred during a series of “violent protests” that unfolded from January 11 to 15 in Helong, a city situated in Jilin, a northeastern province along the border with North Korea. The visiting official was likely caught up in the wave of unrest, resulting in their death, while three others suffered serious injuries.

This disturbing event underscores the broader issue of North Korean migrant labourers facing exploitation and enduring harsh conditions in China, despite explicit UN sanctions against their employment. The tragic outcome serves as a stark reminder that the hardships faced by these workers persist, challenging the notion of communism as an ideal system for all.

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