China is taking a more active role in repatriating North Korean refugees, as relations between Beijing and Seoul have deteriorated in recent weeks over the deployment of THAAD. The repatriation is a break from a trend toward “looking the other way” when North Korean defectors make their way into China, a source said.
Chinese security officers now encourage local residents to report defectors, providing award money to Chinese citizens who turn in undocumented North Koreans. Chinese public security officials are offering $150 to individuals reporting a defector. For Chinese citizens who directly apprehend and turn in a defector, the award is $300. There is also a fine of $450 for anyone assisting a North Korea refugee, according to the report.
The policy has resulted in an increase of arrests and decreased chances of a successful defection, the source said.
The source also said the new measures are connected to a recent trend by the government in Beijing to come to North Korea’s defense as China has grown increasingly critical of Seoul’s decision to deploy a U.S. anti-missile defense system on the peninsula.