Japan Times 16-3-2007:
KOBE (Kyodo) The main pro-Pyongyang group of Korean residents will send a delegation to the U.N. Human Rights Council, meeting this month in Geneva, to give testimony on what it says is a discriminatory crackdown by Japanese authorities on its members, group officials said Thursday.
What is Chongryun?
The 20th congress of Chongryun held in Tokyo
Chongryun, known as Chosen Soren in Japanese, holds seats in the North Korean legislature and officially represents its supporters in Japan. About one-third of the estimated 650,000-700,000 Koreans in Japan support Chongryun and Pyongyang. It is the secretive 250,000-member General Association of Korean Residents in Japan, which is under the direct control of Pyongyang. The group is at the heart of a shadowy fund-raising effort that sends between $600 million and $1 billion annually to North Korea, most of it for the Kim regime itself. The funds are Pyongyang's biggest source of hard currency. Japanese intelligence says Chongryun also covertly purchases equipment for the North's nuclear and missile programs. Chongryun is a substantial force. It has built 140 schools and a university for the Korean community, where 20,000 young people study the basics -- and the wisdom of Kim Il Sung. The association has established a powerful credit union and launched numerous publications. By the mid-1970s, Chongryun Koreans were starting to prosper; they now control most of Japan's pachinko parlors. Former Chongryun officials say North Korea made it clear that the well-being of loved ones back home depended on how often -- and how much -- their relatives in Japan were willing to contribute to the Kim regime. The blackmail money goes through Chongryun to the government.None of this assistance guaranteed the safety of relatives in Korea. An unknown number wound up in concentration camps or before firing squads. As families in Japan have learned of their fate, Chongryun's hold over its members has loosened. A small but vocal group of former members now openly attacks the organization, despite threats from its hierarchy.
Though association officials deny the charges, Japanese officials claim that the group was integral to North Korean intelligence operations through the 1970s. In the early '80s, the officials say, Chongryun shifted focus to concentrate on siphoning foreign exchange into the North.
On top of that , its Tokyo headquarters, former Chongryun supporters say, houses a basement where the organization's bodyguards and special agents are given martial-arts training. Many of them belong to an underground outfit called Gakushu-gumi, or literally "the study group," which is made up of 5,000 supporters of Chongryun who are also cadres of the Korean Workers' Party, North Korea's ruling party
Now this criminal organization ,that is guilty of cash-smuggling ,bribery ,illegal currency trafficking ,hostage-taking ,blackmail ,tax-evasion is trying to call the long-due crack-down on its criminal activities "violation of human rights".
It would be like Al-Qaeda sending a delegation to UN and complaining that it has become illegal in the US to send money, computers, high-tech equipment and weapons to Osama bin Laden.
If Chongryun would be operating in US ,UK or France all it's leaders would be in prison and the organization would be outlawed.
by Gabor Fabricius
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