THE North Korean refugee had one request for her captors before the young Chinese soldiers led her back across the steel-girdered bridge on the Yalu River that divides two “socialist allies”.
“She asked for a comb and some water because she said that if she was going to die she could not face going to heaven looking as dirty and dishevelled as this,” recounted a relative of one soldier who was there.
What happened next is testimony to the rising disgust in Chinese military ranks as Beijing posts more troops to the border amid a crisis with North Korea over its regime’s plan to stage a nuclear test.
The soldiers, who later told family members of the incident, marched the woman, who was about 30, to the mid-point of the bridge. North Korean guards were waiting. They signed papers for receipt of the woman, who kept her dignity until that moment. Then, in front of the Chinese troops, one seized her and another speared her hand — the soft part between thumb and forefinger — with the point of a sharpened steel cable, which he twisted into a leash.
“She screamed just like a pig when we kill it at home in the village,” the soldier later told his relative. “Then they dragged her away.”
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All the Chinese efforts at border security with N. Korea have failed over the years. Smuggling is a big business in both countries, with both sides looking the other way if enough is left in their hand. The forces of Islam are active in China, even though China says or does little publicly about them.
This is an open back door to the world.