Chinese-North Korean defectors face hardship in South Korea

Koreas Ethnic Chinese

GWANGYANG, South Korea (AP) — Abandoned, he feels, by three countries, Cho Guk-gyeong shows a visitor his South Korean alien registration card, which describes him as “stateless.” It’s an apt description for what his life is like in South Korea, 15 years after he fled North Korea.

Most North Korean defectors to the South are ethnically Korean, but Cho, 53, is a third-generation Chinese immigrant. While ethnically Korean defectors are entitled by law to a package of benefits designed to help their resettlement in South Korea, Cho can’t receive that support because he maintained his Chinese nationality in North Korea, even though his family has lived there for generations.