SANTA ANA, Calif. (April 23, 2008) - North Korea will host a leg of the Beijing Olympic Games torch relay on Monday, April 28.
Ironically, North Korea Freedom Week (NKFW) (http://www.nkfreedom.org) will be held April 26-May 3. During that week the United States and other countries around the world will focus on the massive human rights abuses by the communist government headed by Kim Jong Il.
While the theme of the torch relay is "Journey of Harmony," the multi-nation run has drawn widespread protests directed at China's poor human rights record. However, don't expect any protests in Pyongyang.
China and North Korea have a friendly relationship, including the return of North Korean refugees by China. A United States commission said April 15 that North Korean refugees suspected of meeting with religious groups are often marked for harsh interrogation, torture and long detentions without trial after they are forced by China to return to North Korea. A report by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom called for nations to press China to stop sending North Korean refugees back to their homeland.
North Korea is ranked as the No. 1 abuser of religious rights by Open Doors and the 2007 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices issued last month by the U.S. State Department.
Special events during NKFW - sponsored by North Korea Freedom Coalition members - include an "International Protest Against China's Violent Repatriation of North Korean Refugees" Saturday, April 26, at Chinese embassies and consulates around world.
Also, on Tuesday, April 29, a Capitol Hill rally in Washington, D.C. will be held at Taft Memorial Carillon Park at noon. North Korean defectors and members of Congress will participate. The rally will be followed by Congressional lobbying - organized by Open Doors USA - by participants around the country on behalf of the North Korean people.
For more information and a complete schedule, go to www.OpenDoorsUSA.org. To set up an interview with Open Doors USA President Carl Moeller, call Jerry Dykstra at 616-915-4117 or Email firstname.lastname@example.org.