Six political prisoners await their fate in China. Will they become the victims of refoulement? Refoulement, the process of reintroducing political prisoners into their country of origin, is a process akin to sending dissenting citizens to their deaths and was formally banned in the Convention Concerning the Status of Refugees in 1951:
Article 33. - Prohibition of expulsion or return ("refoulement")
1. No Contracting State shall expel or return ("refouler") a refugee in any manner whatsoever to the frontiers of territories where his life or freedom would be threatened on account of his race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.
Unfortunately, although international law forbids it, it still takes place more often than we think. Consider the Shenyang Six, a group of political dissidents who emigrated to China only to find themselves imprisoned with the grim future of a forced return to North Korea. North Korea treats its dissidents in the most atrocious manner, but the other criminal here is China, a country that willfully defies the mandate set out in the aforementioned Convention. It is time for international leaders and countries with diplomatic ties to China to pressure the country to change its policy on refugees to fall in line with international mandates.