Alliance Defending Freedom: It’s days away: The Supreme Court’s marriage decision is expected to come down on June 29.
The New York Times (Subscription Required): When Kim Dong-shik, a South Korean pastor with permanent resident status in the United States, was abducted 15 years ago in northeastern China, his friends and family suspected North Korean involvement. The Pyongyang government loathes clergymen like Mr. Kim, who worked and proselytized among North Koreans who had fled to China.
The Christian Science Monitor: The Korean pastor from Toronto who has disappeared in North Korea is an “outdoorsy guy” who likes to ice fish and whose last trip abroad was to help villagers in the Amazon, according to clergy of his Light Korean Presbyterian Church.
CNN: A Canadian pastor, who went to North Korea on a humanitarian trip in late January, is being held in the reclusive Communist state, his family said early Thursday.
Reuters: A head pastor of large Canadian church has failed to return from a humanitarian mission to North Korea, and the Canadian government has reached out to try to locate him, his Toronto-based church said on Monday.
SBTS: What was most eerie for me, though, was not coming out of that building and looking across the border at these North Korean soldiers whose eyes were fixed on my every movement (along with the few others who were with me). Instead, what was most eerie was contemplating the condition of people, and particularly Christians, living behind those soldiers.
Beyond ‘The Interview’: UN votes to send North Korea to Intl Criminal Court for forced abortion, other atrocities
Life Site News: The United Nations General Assembly voted today to refer North Korea to the International Criminal Court for “crimes against humanity,” which include the crime of widespread forced abortion.
CSW welcomes UN General Assembly vote recommending North Korea referral to International Criminal Court
Alliance Defending Freedom: These are the stories that caught our attention last week.
Christian News Network: An American tourist in North Korea who has been held in the country for the past six months for allegedly leaving a Bible in the restroom of a seaman’s club has now been released and returned to the United States.
CBN: Fowle, 56, is from Miamisburg, Ohio. He’s been in North Korean custody for nearly six months, charged with leaving a Bible in a nightclub in the city of Chonjin.
Christian News Network: Two American missionaries that have been detained in North Korea spoke during an interview with CNN on Monday, pleading for the U.S. to work more diligently for their release.
Christian News Network: An American missionary sentenced to 15 years of hard labor in North Korea has been sent back to serve at a labor camp despite concerns that his health is worsening, reports state.
Voice of America: Korean-American missionary Kenneth Bae has been transferred to a North Korean labor camp from a hospital, despite U.S. concerns that his health is worsening.
Reuters: A Korean-American who runs a Christian NGO in a Chinese city on the border with North Korea is being investigated by Chinese authorities and has had his bank accounts frozen, a source with direct knowledge of the case told Reuters on Thursday.
Jews News: Tragic news coming from North Korea. According to South Korean newspaper JoongAng Ilbo, as many as 80 people were publicly executed in North Korea this month for minor offenses such as owning a Bible.
North Korea sentences South Korean missionary to hard labor for life for allegedly spying, setting up underground churches
New York Daily News: North Korea said Saturday it has sentenced a South Korean Baptist missionary to hard labor for life for allegedly spying and trying to set up underground churches, the latest in a string of missionaries to run into trouble in the rigidly controlled North.
CNN: Since 1999, the U.S. State Department has tracked the world’s worst abusers of religious rights. As the most recent report notes, it has never lacked for material. Persecutions of people of faith are rising across the globe.
God & Politics in the UK: “Yesterday the Minister for Faith & Communities, Baroness Warsi chaired the first meeting of the Foreign Office group on Freedom of Religion or Belief. According to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) website, the group, which includes Mervyn Thomas, chief executive of Christian Solidarity Worldwide and Joel Edwards, the International Director Micah Challenge, is intended to advise FCO Ministers and staff on promoting and protecting the right to freedom of religion or belief worldwide.”
Washington Times: “North Korea tyrant Kim Jong-un has reportedly ordered that 33 Christians believed to be working alongside South Korean Baptist missionary Kim Jung-wook be put to death.”
New York Times: “The Australian, John Short, 75, was arrested in the capital, Pyongyang, on Sunday, according to his wife, Karen. She said the trip was her husband’s second to the Communist dictatorship. He was in possession of religious materials that had been translated into Korean, according to a statement by his family.”
Washington Times: “North Korea forces women to undergo abortions and young mothers to drown their newborn babies, and has starved and executed hundreds of thousands of detainees at secret prison camps — atrocities that the chairman of a U.N. panel that documented the abuses compares to those of Nazi Germany.”
UPI: “North Korea withdrew an invitation for a U.S. envoy to discuss imprisoned Korean-American Kenneth Bae but did receive other U.S. visitors, officials said.”
CNSNews: The top ten countries for persecuting Christians over the last year were: North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Maldives, Pakistan, Iran and Yemen.
One News Now: “A couple of months ago we got a report that over 80 people have been executed across the country and, among those 80, were Christians or owners of Bibles,” he says. “And so we see mass executions of Christians. We’ve seen even American citizens who are Christians being detained. And then, of course, there’s the fact that as many as 70,000 Christians are still living in prison camps.”
Telegraph: Kim Jong-un’s aunt, a former North Korean regime stalwart and the wife of executed general Jang Song-taek, is reported to have either died of a heart attack or committed suicide
Reuters: North Korea has executed the powerful uncle of young leader Kim Jong Un, state media said on Friday, the biggest upheaval in years as the ruling dynasty sought to distance itself from responsibility for the isolated states’s dire living standards.
Breitbart: The atrocities in North Korea reached another peak on November 3, as roughly 80 people were publicly executed in seven different cities for crimes such as watching films made in South Korea, dealing in pornography or possessing a Bible.
Charisma News: “They pray for us because they feel we are persecuted by our prosperity and it distances us from God,” he says. “They pray that we will remain faithful to the Lord.”
Townhall: The United Nations experts investigating human rights conditions in North Korea said Tuesday that the “shocking” evidence they had collected from defectors and others suggested “large-scale” patterns of abuse that demanded an international response.
NTD Television: Human Rights Without Frontiers, an international NGO based in Brussels, presented its latest report on freedom of religion and belief around the world at the European Parliament on Tuesday.
Express.co.uk: Fears that famine-stricken North Koreans are being forced to eat human flesh heightened earlier this year following claims a man was executed for murdering his two children for food.
Nina Shea at National Review: North Korea’s Kim dynasty considers religion a hindrance to the nation’s socialist evolution. For 50 years, its secret police has waged a brutal campaign to eradicate religious belief. It has nearly succeeded. But the numbers of Christian believers are now slowly rising (maybe even in the low hundreds of thousands) and they must be prepared to pay with their lives for their faith.
Glenn Greenwald at The Guardian: This belief in the unfettered legal and moral right of the US to use force anywhere in the world for any reason it wants is sustained only by this belief in objective US superiority, this myth of American exceptionalism. And the results are exactly what one would expect from an approach grounded in a belief system so patently irrational.
Melanie Kirkpatrick at the Wall Street Journal: Public worship is dangerous. A ‘congregation’ might mean two people on a park bench, silently sharing their faith.
LIfeNews: As a result, the United States is currently one of only nine nations that allow abortion after 14 weeks of gestation.[ii] Even among this group, however, the United States is one of the most permissive in its treatment of abortion, placing it in the company of China, North Korea, and Canada, the only countries in the world that permit abortion for any reason after fetal viability.[iii]
AP: Yonhap News Agency says China arrested the activists while they were discussing ways to help North Korean defectors in China. Yonhap cited no sources.
AP: The study released Wednesday by the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea says all adults in the socialist state are categorized as one of three classes: loyal, wavering or hostile.
AP: Myanmar, run by a cabal of generals, squelched any attempt at democratic change and kept the country’s most popular figure under strict house arrest for years. North Korea, run by the same family as a Stalinist dictatorship since the 1940s, simply sealed itself off.
AP: For centuries, rulers have used choreographed spectacles to help them maintain control, mixing the appearance of absolute public unity with an underlying threat of what happens to anyone who goes against the grain.
Christian Science Monitor: Like the thousands of women who fled North Korea before her, Kim Eun-sun made it into China and paid a woman to help her, only to discover she’d traded one form of captivity for another.
Jeff Jacoby at Townhall: There is no cruelty so depraved that people cannot be induced to do it, or to look the other way while it is being done. Escape from Camp 14 reconfirms what we have known for years: North Korea’s rulers brutalize their people with unparalleled and bloody barbarity. Why do we find it so easy to look the other way?
AP: The press bus took a wrong turn Thursday. And suddenly, everything changed in the official showcase of North Korean achievement.
AP: The U.S. human rights envoy for North Korea says conditions in communist country’s “brutal” prison camps are worse than in the Soviet Union’s gulag during the Cold War.
News from The Associated Press: South Korea allowed members of a private group to accompany aid to North Korea for the first time Friday since leader Kim Jong Il died last month.
Gordon G. Chang at National Review Online: Beijing has, for decades, been buying the loyalty of the North’s generals and admirals faster than Kim Jong Il could purge them. Now that Kim is resting under glass in the Kumsusan Memorial Palace, the Chinese are going to own all the flag officers they need.
TheHill.com: North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, 69, has reportedly died after nearly two decades in power. The White House said it was closely monitoring reports that the reclusive leader was dead.
News from The Associated Press: The United States will hold talks with North Korea in Beijing on Thursday on the possibility of providing food aid to the impoverished country, the State Department said.
Breitbart: North Korea warned South Korea on Sunday of “unexpected consequences” if Seoul displays Christmas lights near the tense border, and vowed to retaliate for what it called propaganda attempts.
The Washington Post: Just don’t bring your cellphone or BlackBerry, don’t try to send an e-mail, don’t plan to stroll down a street, and never try to talk to strangers or take pictures of ordinary people. None of that is allowed.
Korean Times: The advisory council on the Seoul Education Board has proposed that a students’ bill of rights should contain a code banning students from bullying same-sex adolescents. It says it is a violation of human rights for homosexual students to be isolated inside schools.
MSNBC.com: In a pediatric hospital in North Korea’s most productive farming province, children lay two to a bed. All showed signs of severe malnutrition: skin infections, patchy hair, listless apathy.
OneNewsNow.com: The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) welcomes the Obama administration’s release of the Annual Report on International Religious Freedom, and the Commission is urging the U.S. government to increase action to promote freedom of religion or belief. Burma, Eritrea, China, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Uzbekistan are eight “countries of particular concern,” but USCIRF spokesperson Elizabeth Cassidy says her group thinks the list is incomplete . . .
Daily Mail Online: The North Korean government may deny their existence, but photos taken from space have revealed in unprecedented detail the concentration camps that are used imprison more than 200,000 citizens. Men, women and children are forced to work seven days a week as slaves and eat ‘rats, frogs, snakes, insects’ and even faeces to battle starvation in the camps.
SMH.com.au: A South Korean missionary working with North Korean refugees in China died suddenly in the street amid suspicions Pyongyang agents were involved, a newspaper and another missionary said Friday.
Ekklesia: Christian advocacy groups are among a 28-strong international coalition calling for North Korea, criticised by many for its human rights abuses and nuclear threats, to step down from the presidency of the United Nations Conference on Disarmament (UNCD) – writes John Zarocostas.
: President Hu Jintao of China praised North Korea and its ailing leader, Kim Jong-il, for giving “top priority to improving people’s lives,” according to a report on Thursday night by Xinhua, the state news agency
AP: The United States plans to send an envoy to North Korea for talks on the North’s urgent request for food aid, a South Korean official said Tuesday.
BBC: A rights group has published satellite images of what it says are North Korea’s political prison camps, saying they appear to be growing in size.
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) today released its 2011 Annual Report and recommended that the Secretary of State name the following nations “countries of particular concern” or CPCs: Burma, China, Egypt, Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam.
Fides: Human rights trampled and denied freedom of religion, more than 50 thousand Christians in prison camps for their faith, victims of a judicial system based strictly on ideology of the regime: this is the picture of the situation in North Korea, a country, according to the 2011 Report of the Ong “Open Doors”, holds the “black shirt” in terms of respect for freedom of conscience and religion in the world.
Doug Bandow writing at The Center for Vision & Values: “There is more than enough bad news to fill the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom’s latest annual report. Worst of all were the conditions in 13 ‘countries of particular concern.’”
ChristianNewsWire: “Despite Communist North Korea topping the annual Open Doors World Watch List (WWL) for the ninth consecutive year, the most dangerous countries in which to practice Christianity are overwhelmingly Islamic ones.”
Doug Bandow writing at The American Spectator: “The DPRK routinely rates among the world’s worst religious persecutors. Formally atheistic, the regime has turned politics into a quasi-religion. The communist system is holy like a church, the ruling Kims, both father and son, are secular saints, the self-reliance philosophy of Juche amounts to theology, recorded in books of Kim sayings, and heretics are severely punished.”
AP: “The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court said Monday he has opened an preliminary investigation into possible war crimes by North Korea resulting from its recent clashes with South Korea.”
Pat Buchanan writing at Townhall: “Fifty-seven years after that armistice, a U.S. carrier task force is steaming toward the Yellow Sea in a show of force after the North fired 80 shells into a South Korean village. We will stand by our Korean allies, says President Obama. And with our security treaty and 28,000 U.S. troops in South Korea, many on the DMZ, we can do no other. But why, 60 years after the first Korean War, should Americans be the first to die in a second Korean War?”
Christian Post: “Last year, about 2,900 people made their way to the democratic South, and over 2,000 have arrived so far this year, said Jong-joo Lee, an official with the Unification Ministry. Each month, an average of 200 North Koreans make it to the South, according to the Ministry.”
North Korea’s Christians face uncertain future under next leader | Christian News on Christian Today
Christian Today: “Christians are treated without mercy. Up to three generations of Christian families are rounded up and thrown in prison camps to try to eliminate the faith. The nation is now grooming its next leader. But the question is, will Kim Jong-un finally put an end to his country’s policy of ruthless persecution?”
Christian Post: “A South Korean pastor was indicted Thursday on the charge of violating South Korea’s National Security Law after returning from an unauthorized trip to North Korea . . . South Korea forbids its citizens from making unauthorized trips to the north and supporting Pyongyang’s repressive regime. Han, a pro-unification activist, could face up to seven years in prison if convicted of violating the security law.”
The Boston Globe: “A Boston man being held in North Korea since January for crossing into that country illegally was freed yesterday at the behest of former President Jimmy Carter, and is expected to arrive back in Boston today . . . His friends told the Globe he was active in an evangelical church in South Korea and was very upset when a friend, Korean-American Robert Park, was arrested after crossing into North Korea on Dec. 25 to protest human rights abuses there.”