North Korea has said it will put on trial two American tourists charged with "perpetrating hostile acts" against the country. One of the tourists was detained for leaving a Bible behind in his hotel room.
"The significance of these arrests and trials cannot be overstated: North Korea is choosing to publicly blame Christian missionaries for its human rights problems and internal difficulties," Seoul USA CEO Pastor Eric Foley told The Christian Post in an email on Monday.
"There are important lessons to be learned from the arrests by Christians seeking to reach North Korea in the future. Now is not the time to comment on the strategies of those being detained. But what we can conclude with certainty is that there is no 'back door' into North Korea – no strategy for sharing the gospel there that does not involve paying the highest of personal prices. This is what North Korean underground Christians have known and practiced for years." more >>
China has charged four people in connection with the March terror attack at a train station in Kunming where 29 people were killed and 140 injured in a brutal stabbing attack.
The Xinhua state media station reported Monday that the four suspects had been charged with leading the March 1 terror attack in the public train station. "The Kunming Municipal People's Procuratorate found that the suspects were involved in organizing, leading or taking part in the terrorist attack as well as intentional homicide," the news agency reported, citing the prosecutor in the case.
"The crimes of the four defendants are clear and the evidence is abundant," the prosecutor added. more >>
South Korea has urged North Korea to release the Baptist missionary Kim Jung-wook, who was sentenced last month to hard labor for life on charges of spying and trying to set up underground churches.
South Korea has denied that Jung-wook is its spy and said that his punishment is too harsh, according to Mission News Network, which also reported that the North has ignored the South's pleas to free the missionary.
Kim allegedly admitted to committing anti-North Korean religious acts and "malignantly hurting the dignity" of the country's supreme leadership, or the ruling Kim family (no relations). more >>
China has "effectively" banned Hillary Clinton's newly released memoir, Hard Choices, as the former Secretary of State criticizes the Asian country's dedication to democracy, its government leaders, and its treatment of human rights lawyer Chen Guangcheng in her new book.
A spokesperson for Clinton's publisher, Simon & Schuster, said in a recent interview that Chinese publishers had refused to purchase the translation rights for Clinton's new memoir, and they have also refused to sell the book in English.
Simon & Schuster president Jonathan Karp told Buzzfeed in a recent interview that China's rejection of Clinton's book amounts to an "effective ban" on the memoir in the Asian country. "It's outrageous and unfortunate," Karp said. "And it's a pretty clear indication of the low level of intellectual freedom in China right now." more >>
The government of North Korea has expressed outrage over the upcoming movie "The Interview" starring James Franco and Seth Rogen, calling it "undisguised terrorism," and threatening "merciless counter-measure" at the comedy about two talk show hosts who are asked to assassinate Kim Jong Un.
"The enemies have gone beyond the tolerance limit in their despicable moves to dare hurt the dignity of the supreme leadership," a North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman told the country's state-run news agency on Wednesday, CNN reported.
He added that "The Interview," set for release in October, is "the most undisguised terrorism and a war action to deprive the service personnel and people of the DPRK of their mental mainstay and bring down its social system." more >>
The interdenominational Christian Federation of Malaysia has warned that believers in the country face "serious negative consequences" after the Supreme Court again confirmed that a Catholic newspaper is not allowed to use the word "Allah" to refer to God.
"We continue to support that the decision of the Court of Appeal, upheld by the Federal Court, is seriously flawed in many respects. According to Justice, many erroneous and inaccurate observations had to be corrected. Now there will be serious negative consequences for the religious freedom of Christians in Malaysia," the group said, according to Fides News Agency on Monday.
The long-standing case concerns the Catholic weekly newspaper "Herald," which was initially told in 2007 by Malaysian authorities to stop using the word "Allah." While in 2009 a lower court defended the newspaper's right to use the term, in October 2013 chief judge Mohamed Apandi Ali ruled that "the usage of the word 'Allah' is not an integral part of the faith in Christianity," and that it would "cause confusion in the community." more >>