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Digital Archive International History Declassified

December 10, 1959

SUMMARY REPORT ON ORGANIZING ETHNIC KOREANS AND MOBILIZING KOREAN IMMIGRANTS TO GO TO KOREA TO TAKE PART IN CONSTRUCTION

This document was made possible with support from the MacArthur Foundation, Leon Levy Foundation

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    The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs summarizes efforts made to organize ethnic Koreans in Northeast China to relocate to North Korea to lend support to economic construction in the DPRK.
    "Summary Report on Organizing Ethnic Koreans and Mobilizing Korean Immigrants to go to Korea to Take Part in Construction" December 10, 1959, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, PRCFMA 118-00777-01. Pp. 43-48. Obtained for NKIDP by Shen Zhihua and translated for NKIDP by Jeffrey Wang. http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/114177
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Report to the Foreign Office (of the State Council). Ji Pengfei, 10 December 1959

When the [North] Korean government delegation visited China in December 1958, they had once mentioned that they hoped for China to help mobilize some ethnic Koreans in China to participate in [North] Korea’s development. We have received instructions that the Central Committee agrees with this request. On 18 January of this year, the State Council instructed Jilin, Heilongjiang, and Liaoning Provinces and the People’s Committee of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region to organize ethnic Koreans with Chinese nationality and to mobilize Korean nationals to participate in development work in [North] Korea. The comprehensive work report on the organization of ethnic Koreans and the mobilization of Korean nationals in Jilin, Heilongjiang, and Liaoning Provinces and the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region to participate in [North] Korea’s development is as follows:

The leading Party and government departments of the four provinces and regions attached great significance to organizing ethnic Koreans of Chinese nationality and mobilizing Korean nationals to go to [North] Korea to participate in development work. After the State Council’s instructions were issued, the four provinces and regions convened a regional coordination meeting and, based on the spirit of the State Council’s instruction, studied united action, timing, and methods. The People’s Committees of each province and region and of the relevant municipal and county governments called for the relevant departments to establish a relocation committee and to organize a joint office. Leading comrades at all levels were personally responsible for timely supervision and inspection and to help resolve problems. This work, which began in February and ended in April, was concluded completely and smoothly.

The four provinces and regions sent a total of 10,297 households of Chinese ethnic Koreans and Korean nationals, or 52,014 people (1,084 were Korean nationals). Jilin Province accounted for 7,127 families or 36,274 people [sic]; Heilongjiang Province accounted for 2,000 households or 9,817 people; Liaoning Province accounted for 1,071 households or 5,383 people; and Inner Mongolia accounted for 99 households or 540 people. Of the 50,000 or so people, there were 24,148 male and female laborers. On average each household possessed two laborers. With an exception of a small number of merchants from public-private partnerships, most of these people were members of people’s communes. There were also some workers, technical personnel, and commune cadres. The political situation is that there were 988 members of the Chinese Communist Party and 1,991 members of the Chinese Communist Youth League (Party members from Inner Mongolia not included). According to our understanding, one-third of these people were sent to the villages with labor shortages in South Hwanghae Province, North Hwanghae Province, and South Pyeongan [Pyongan] Province, while two-thirds were sent to the factories and businesses.

At the beginning of the relocation work, the ethnic Korean applicants were extremely enthusiastic. This was especially the case in regions where there is a concentration of ethnic Koreas. For some production units, most or all members applied. Many regions far exceed the control figures. For example, in Jilin Province, 7,000 households were originally supposed to be relocated, but 20,000 households applied, or more than twice as much as the control figure. The number of applicants in Jilin and Heilongjiang Provinces was also double the control figure. Most of the people applying to go to [North] Korea are good people. They wanted to go to [North] Korea so that Korea could develop. However, there were also some people who had impure motives. Some people doubted the superiority of the people’s communes, believing that, following communization, national customs would not be taken care of and that they would be unaccustomed to life [in China]. Some seized the opportunity to go to [North] Korea to get out of agriculture and into industry. Some wanted to go to [North] Korea to obtain higher positions and receive better treatment. There were also people who wanted to use [North] Korea as an opportunity to escape debt. In light of the above, provinces, municipalities, and counties thoroughly completed political and ideological education in a timely fashion, organizing discussions and debates and explaining the [process of] volunteering to take part in [North] Korea’s construction. [The provinces, municipalities, and counties] expressed a high spirit of internationalism, and at the same time explained that it is also glorious to stay in the motherland [China] to take part in its construction. Through discussion and debate, [they] refuted some erroneous points of view and clarified the incorrect ideas related to this issue, stabilizing the emotions [of the applicants].

Prior to leaving, many localities held farewell meetings or informal discussions for those who were approved to go to [North] Korea. The responsible cadres personally spoke and encouraged them to play an active role in [North] Korea’s socialist construction. All of main railway stations and ports had people attending to and bidding farewell to [those going to North Korea]. They were deeply moved by the care and attention given by the Party and government. Some people said that after they get to [North] Korea that they will definitely accept their organizational assignments, listen to the [Korean] Workers’ Party, and do a good job with production to repay the Chinese Party and government for its care. Those who were not approved [to go to Korea] underwent persuasion education, which enabled them to focus on production. [We tried] as much as possible to satisfy the reasonable suggestions and requests they had for work, life, and schooling for children. For example, in the villages with only a small number of ethnic Koreans and without a Korean elementary school, [we] added nationalities classes inside of the Han schools. In terms of daily life, we adjusted the proportion of their food supply. These measures not only stabilized their feelings, but also increased ethnic unity. In relocation work, [we] basically satisfied those who left and put at ease those who stayed.

Regarding financial issues for those who were approved to go to [North] Korea. The absolute majority of the municipal and county people’s communes have, in accordance with the provisions of the State Council, fairly and reasonably handled cooperative shares, production investments, and labor returns. Local governments also gave appropriate grants to the small number of households with financial difficulties. But because [we were] pressed for time with the relocation work and there were so many individuals, there were relatively large changes in production and financial relationships since communization last year. The commune funds in some areas were not settled and funds could not be distributed. Thus the labor earnings, shares, and investments for a small number of the cooperative members who went to [North] Korea were not fully refunded. After they went to [North] Korea, some went to the Chinese Embassy in [North] Korea and asked to return to take care of this; some wrote directly to the cooperatives to request that this be handled. Although these cases were few, every province and municipality had some. There were similar problems among the Chinese ethnic Koreans who went to [North] Korea in 1957 and 1958 (600 families according to incomplete calculations from Jilin Province). Some of them even went to the [Chinese] Embassy quite often to request that this be taken care of. Considering that it does not require much money to resolve these problems and that the issue could potentially have a negative political influence upon production as well as the production mood of the people, we are providing the following views:

Concerning the disposition of properties for the Chinese ethnic Koreans who were approved to go to [North] Korea to participate in construction between February 1959 and April 1959 (commune members, capitalists from public-private partnerships, and merchants from cooperative store groups). Those who had their properties clearly processed will not be processed again. For those whose properties were not clearly processed, [they] will be handled according to the “Supplementary Provisions on the Problems of Organizing Chinese Ethnic Koreans to Go to Korea for Work,” passed by the State Council on 14 August 1959.Concerning the refunding of stocks and interest to the ethnic Koreans who were formerly Chinese nationals and went to [North] Korea to participate in the construction in 1957 and 1958—whether they were capitalists from public-private partnerships or from cooperative store groups, or whether they went collectively or individually. [This] will be handled according to Article One of the “Supplementary Provisions on the Problems of Organizing Chinese Ethnic Koreans to Go to Korea for Work” and the specific circumstances [of each case]. The refund of shares and production investments of commune members and the handling of housing and other private properties will be done in accordance with Article Three of the abovementioned Provisions. However, all debt owed to China must be repaid, regardless of whether the debtor is an aforementioned capitalist from a public-private partnership or a merchant from a cooperative store group. As for the labor income for the agricultural [cooperative] members, consider the drastic change in financial relationships over the past few years and that labor incomes for each year have been clearly distinguished. If it is proposed to resettle accounts and distribution, this will produce many problems. Therefore returns will not be distributed again.The settlement of financial relationships or the handling of personal properties for Chinese ethnic Koreans who have applied to return to China can be handled in the following ways:Communes can settle [accounts] by directly informing the former commune member to send a representative to receive [the properties] or by entrusting a relative or friend. Or, if it is agreed, remittances can be sent to where the commune members live and a regional representative can transfer them to the commune member.Those who visit the Chinese Embassy in [North] Korea and request to return to China to resolve their financial relationships or personal property [issues] must first obtain certification letters from their former commune or local government. The Embassy should strictly handle [this]. Additional Chinese ethnic Koreans who request to go to [North] Korea in the future will be handled according to the Ministry of Public Security’s 8 June 1958 “Provisions on Administering Exit and Entry for Private Matters.” To prevent problems from arising, those with proper reasons and approval [to relocate to Korea] should resolve financial relationship with their people’s communes and personal property [issues] prior to departure.

[We] request that the State Council approve the preceding opinions and send them to the People’s Committees of Jilin, Heilongjiang, Liaoning, and Inner Mongolia for implementation.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

10 December 1959