John Short, the 75-year-old Christian missionary who was recently freed from imprisonment in North Korea, said remembering Bible scriptures helped him through his "grueling" 13-day investigation by government authorities.
"There were two-hour sessions each morning, which were repeated again in the afternoons," Short, originally from South Australia, told the Australian Associated Press, adding that he was also kept under 24-hour guard watch for the duration of his imprisonment.
The 75-year-old Christian missionary, who has resided in Hong Kong since 1964, told the news agency that the interrogations were especially difficult because he is an avid walker, and being forced to sit in an enclosed room all day really took a toll on his physical health. "This I found to be most painful physically as an active senior person," he said. "I missed my freedom to walk very much." more >>
Human right groups reminded the international community that a promise was made never to allow the atrocities of Nazi Germany to be repeated again, and in that light pushed Congress to approve a bill detailing new sanctions and action steps against North Korea and the human rights abuses it is inflicting on its own people.
"When the full scale of the atrocities committed by Nazi Germany against the Jewish people was realized, the international community vowed never again would the world stand by and allow this type of cruelty to occur again," Suzanne Scholte, chairman of the North Korea Freedom Coalition, said in a statement at a Capitol Hill panel on North Korea on Wednesday.
"Yet, if you are a North Korean these words ring hollow because we have known of these atrocities for decades and yet we are allowing them to continue. Consider that the North Korean political prison camps have been in existence 10 times longer than the Nazi death camps, three times longer than the Soviet gulag, and existed even longer than the China's laogai." more >>
A South Korean Christian missionary imprisoned in North Korea said during a recent press conference in front of government officials that he is a "criminal" guilty of "anti-state" crimes such as attempting to turn the country into a Christian nation.
At the press conference on Thursday, Baptist missionary Kim Jung Wook pleaded with North Korean officials to grant him mercy and said that he had conspired with South Korea's intelligence agency to build house churches in North Korea. Kim was arrested by North Korean officials in October, and Thursday marks his first public appearance since his arrest.
"I was thinking of turning North Korea into a religious country, and destroying its present government and political system," Kim said. "I received money from the intelligence services and followed instructions from them, and arranged North Koreans to act as their spies. And I also set up an underground church in China, in Dandong, and got the members to talk and write, for me to collect details about the reality of life in North Korea, and I provided this to the intelligence services." more >>
The North Korean government has arrested an Australian Christian missionary for handing out Gospel tracts, with the family of the 75-year-old man fearing he could face up to 15 years in prison.
"My husband does what he believes is what God wants him to do," Karen Short said of her husband, John, who was arrested at his Pyongyang hotel on Sunday, according to Australian news site ABC.
"Without sounding strange, that's him, he's a man of faith. We're faith missionaries and he believed that we should care and not just talk but do something." more >>
With reports of extreme persecution and human rights abuses in North Korea, including a recent 400 page report by the U.N. exposing "unspeakable atrocities," Christians are wondering whether God has abandoned the country.
"Is God at work in North Korea? Because we don't see it," some have told Open Doors, a persecution watchdog group. The organization has listed North Korea as the most oppressive country in the world for Christians on its World Watch List for the past 12 years in a row now, and despite constant prayers for change, the situation only seems to be getting worse.
The U.N. Commission of Inquiry on human rights in the DPRK said in its extensive report on Monday, which is to be formally presented to the Human Rights Council in Geneva on March 17, that "the gravity, scale and nature of these violations reveal a State that does not have any parallel in the contemporary world." more >>
An extensive U.N. report released on Monday has detailed some of the "unspeakable atrocities" being committed in North Korea, including mass starvation and extermination, while leader Kim Jong Un spends money lavishly on private movie theaters and luxury cars.
"The gravity, scale and nature of these violations reveal a State that does not have any parallel in the contemporary world," said the U.N. Commission of Inquiry on human rights in the DPRK in the report.
Close to 400 pages of linked reports, supporting documents and first-hand testimonies from victims and witnesses have revealed the extent of the crimes being committed in the Pacific nation, which include "extermination, murder, enslavement, torture, imprisonment, rape, forced abortions and other sexual violence, persecution on political, religious, racial and gender grounds, the forcible transfer of populations, the enforced disappearance of persons and the inhumane act of knowingly causing prolonged starvation." more >>