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Defector activist lawmaker collapses due to hunger strike

Defector activist lawmaker collapses due to hunger strike

Posted March. 02, 2012 21:36,   


A lawmaker of the minor conservative Liberty Forward Party Friday fainted and was rushed to hospital for treatment Friday on the 11th day of her hunger strike in protest of China`s forced repatriation of North Korean defectors.

Park Sun-young, who began her hunger strike Feb. 21, was participating in a rally in front of the Chinese Embassy in Seoul at 2 p.m. when she suddenly fainted. Before collapsing, she made a speech there saying an additional four defectors, including a newborn, were arrested at a Chinese-Laotian border area, urging the protesters to stop the repatriation of the North Koreans.

She then barely gathered herself while sitting on a chair and listening to other speeches before suddenly collapsing. She was taken to one of the protesters’ tents set up across the Chinese Embassy, but lost consciousness around 2:20 p.m. Emergency rescue workers rushed her to Seoul National University Hospital in central Seoul.

One of Park’s close aides said her health began deteriorating quickly from Friday morning, adding, “She usually gets up at 7 a.m. to read newspapers and greet visitors but she remained lying today.”

The hospital’s staff said Park was not in critical condition since she recovered consciousness and had small sips of water.

Lee Ae-ran, a former defector-turned-university professor who joined Park’s hunger strike for the ninth day, said she would continue the strike. “In South Korea, I saw people protesting the construction of a highway to save salamanders on Mount Cheonseong. Are North Korean escapees not as good as salamanders?” Lee said.

will71@donga.com jhk85@donga.com