July 27, 2016 10:30
China has cooled toward South Korea since Seoul agreed to let the U.S. station a Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense battery here.
Signs of a growing peeve include reports that Beijing is questioning the quality of South Korean cosmetics, which are extremely popular among Chinese consumers, and rumors that China has returned to repatriating North Korean defectors.
State media reported that a growing number of South Korean cosmetics products are failing quality tests or are being illegally imported. Xinhua said imports of South Korean cosmetics have surged in the first half of this year, but in seven cases they failed to spot checks at the border.
A customs official said the products that failed the spot checks usually contain ingredients prohibited by the Chinese government.
Xinhua said some South Korean businesses are selling counterfeit or substandard products in China, such as mask packs that allegedly contain banned preservatives, mostly by mail order or online.
CCTV on Tuesday reported extensively on a crackdown on South Korean cosmetics that were smuggled through Dalian port. A smuggler who was arrested says on camera, "Chinese tourists who visit South Korea buy cosmetics products in Myeong-dong [Seoul's famous shopping district], but these products can't be trusted."
And South Korean groups helping North Korean defectors in China claim that Chinese security forces are arresting and repatriating defectors again.
Activist Kwon Na-hyun said a 28-year-old North Korean woman who had been living in China's Liaoning Province was arrested on Monday and taken to the border with North Korea. "She is facing repatriation back to North Korea," he said. The woman is apparently from Chongjin in North Korea's Hamgyong Province.
Two other North Korean women who were living in Jilin Province were also arrested recently, according to Lee Myeong-ok, another activist. Lee added there are rampant signs of a crackdown on North Korean defectors in Yanbian, which is home to a large ethnic Korean group.
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