Wednesday, February 10, 2010

[DeCal] UPDATED* February 16th, 2009

Note: I've edited this posting as I was rereading, I saw a great deal of grammatical mistakes, particularly with respect to indefinite and definite articles. I was born, raised, and educated in the United States, so I find these mistakes to be particularly inexcusable.  Also, I rewrote the conclusion of the differing views part of the post. - Joseph: 02/12/2010, 12:14am

Decal Update
Next week, February 16th, 2009, is the second time we'll meet and the last meeting before the add/drop deadline. With this in mind, the Spring 2010 DeCal Team decided to put off the presentation of how the past twelve or thirteen years have played out on the Korean peninsula. The presentation will pay particular attention to both halves of the peninsula. The purpose of the presentation will be to jump directly into topics that have yet to run its course and how these events are relevant to those in the United States. This will now be given next week.

Differing political views in the classroom...
I recently received a question about my political leanings as I have posted my opinion on a large number of fairly controversial issues, such as, how I view [The People's Republic of] China's treatment of her citizins in both Xinjiang and Tibet. And, while this is the first time I heard a student that express concern over how this may influence how the course is instructed,  it did make feel that it warranted a thorough response.

In this course, and as I will show in my presentation next week, I do make an active effort to avoid editorializing. However, when there are issues that invite controversy, especially on ongoing issues that have yet to play out -- I will not avoid them. As the DeCal takes place in an academic setting -- and one in which the grading system is highly skewed towards encouraging discussion -- I will not hesitate to make claims that might not be agreeable to everyone. For example, Communist China, which is a signatory of the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refuge, claims that North Koreans crossing into China are is adhering to not subject to the UN protocol on political refugees as the nation claims that these North Koreans crossing over into its country are not political refugees, but rather economic migrants. This is a claim that is rejected by many in the United States, though I cite a figure, who here that may be considered by some to hold views that lie on the may hold views on other issues that do not reflect those held by most fringe of those held by the Americans, as well as NGOs and their affiliated student groups on campus, such as Liberty in North Korea (LiNK).

For example, Paul Wolfowitz writes:
The key with the Chinese will be working, on the one hand, to reassure them that they would not be stuck with a permanent refugee population and, on the other, to remind them, as a signatory to the U.N. refugee protocol, that China needs to comply with its provisions, including allowing access for the UNHCR. Starting slowly, with smaller numbers, could also help. Even relatively modest levels, for example 25,000 per year, could permit resettlement of a quarter of a million refugees over a 10-year period ("How to Help North Korea's Refugees" || Wall Street Journal Online)
However, I reject this view as the work of Yooknok Chang, Stephen Haggard, and Marcus Noland's "Exit Polls: Refugee Assessments of North Korea's Transition" shows that an overwhelming majority of North Koreans crossing into China would like to go back to North Korea after making some money. Even if their assumption that refugees in North Korea reflect a representative sample of the populace in North Korea were false, it looks as if -- provided that their sample groups are representative of the (illegal) North Korean population in China, that these migrants are indeed crossing over for economic reasons and, thus, China is not subject to the UN protocol on political refugees sample were not taken to be representative of all (North) Koreans, then at the very least -- provided that their samples are more or less representative of the view of at least those North Koreans in North Korea, then China is indeed correct. As their surveys of North Koreans that have crossed over into China show, an overwhelming majority of North Koreans that have illegally crossed over into China see their stay as transient and would like to go not to places such as South Korea, Japan, or the United States, but rather back home to North Korea. Thus, most North Koreans are indeed economic migrants and not subject to the UN protocol on political refugees.

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