Voice of the Martyrs, 14th September 2023
Following a surge in security measures along China’s North Korean border, an intricate network of security cameras, watchtowers and other surveillance infrastructure has been established.
The heightened security measures, particularly evident along the eastern river, make it increasingly challenging for North Koreans to flee their authoritarian regime. Movements of diplomats and foreigners in the area are under nearly constant watch.
Satellite imagery has revealed substantial upgrades to Chinese border security along the river since 2019.
A network of security cameras is a primary means through which Chinese authorities monitor their North Korean border. Cameras, approximately 328 yards apart in some areas, provide continuous surveillance coverage.
Almost 12 million North Koreans, nearly half of the population, are undernourished, according to U.N. data.
Heightened border surveillance has produced a rapid drop in defector numbers with only 67 reaching South Korea last year compared to 1,047 in 2019. China’s lockdowns and travel restrictions make it nigh impossible for Koreans to escape from China.
Coupled with China’s long-standing policies criminalising aid to North Koreans in need along the border, these restrictions pose a challenge for humanitarian aid.