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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

China Arrests Christian Missionaries for North Korea Activities - Update

UPDATE - Please watch a 6 minute video at the bottom of this page. It's quite extraordinary!

By Elizabeth Shim  

Chinese police have detained two South Korean pastors who have been assisting North Korean refugees in the country, according to a South Korea-based activist. File Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo

(UPI) -- Chinese authorities have detained two South Korean Christian pastors who were assisting North Korean refugees.

The arrests come at a time when Beijing has not stopped placing selective sanctions against South Korean companies for a joint U.S.-South Korea decision to deploy the missile defense system THAAD on the peninsula.

Pastor Peter Jung, who heads Justice for North Korea in Seoul, told Yonhap news agency Wednesday the two South Korean nationals were "protecting defectors" but were tracked down by Chinese police who promptly arrested the religious clerics and their families.

Jung said one of the pastors was arrested Feb. 18 in the Chinese city of Qingdao in Shandong province, at the city's airport, with his wife and two children.

The second South Korean national was arrested with his wife at a hotel in Qinhuangdao, a Chinese port city in northeastern Hebei province.

Chinese authorities released the family members of both men after two days of interrogation, Jung said.

"The arrested pastors openly stated to Chinese authorities they were helping North Korean defectors out of fear they would be subject to inhumane treatment if repatriated to the North," Jung said.

Beijing has previously sent back North Korean refugees within China's borders.

Jung said Chinese police are seeking to charge the South Koreans for operating a human smuggling operation.

The two pastors have been transferred to the Chinese city of Benxi in Liaoning Province, where they are to await a final decision while in custody.

In February, Chinese authorities arrested four Christian missionaries near the North Korea border.

Chinese authorities have detained Christian missionaries, including one American, in an area near the North Korea border. (UPI Photo/Stephen Shaver) | License Photo

Feb. 10 (UPI) -- Chinese authorities recently arrested four Christian missionaries near the North Korea border, but reasons for their arrest were not provided.

A local resident in Yanji, a city in the Yanbian region of Jilin Province, said the arrests were made at a hotel in the town on Thursday, Radio Free Asia reported.

All four missionaries appear to be of Korean descent, but carried different passports.

One missionary identified as Pastor Park Won-cheol is a man in his fifties.

A U.S. citizen, Park's whereabouts are being confirmed by the U.S. embassy in China, the source said.

Other missionaries include a South Korea passport holder with the surname Kim. The man is in his thirties. 

Two Chinese nationals were also detained.

Park, the American, had been traveling frequently to China "for years," the source said.

"Park flew to China from South Korea last week," said the source. "On Feb. 9, at 10:30 a.m., immediately before he was to travel to Yanji airport to board a plane to return to South Korea, he was arrested at his hotel after a raid."

Chinese missionary sentenced to 15 years in NK, another killed

A second source told RFA one missionary of Chinese nationality was sentenced to 15 years in a North Korea prison, after being kidnapped by Pyongyang's state security agents on Nov. 1, 2014.

North Korean agents who crossed the border killed another Chinese citizen, Han Chungryeol, on April 30, 2016, while he was aiding North Korean refugees, the source said.

Yanji, China

Please watch this extraordinary testimony of what life was like in North Korea and the the cost of escaping to a young girl and her mother.