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Media Contact: Ryan Morgan, Regional Manager for Southeast Asia RM-SEAsia@persecution.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
North Korea on Arrested Missionary: 'We have made no decision as to what we will do with him'
Wife Asks for Prayer After Husband Was Detained on Sunday
International Christian Concern
International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that Australian missionary John Short, 75, was arrested by North Korean authorities on Sunday in the nation's capital, Pyongyang. John, a career missionary based in Hong Kong, was traveling to the reclusive nation with a tour group and was carrying Christian literature translated into Korean.
In an interview this morning with ICC, John's wife, Karen, revealed that the Beijing-based tour company John had been traveling with had initially made contact with North Korean authorities on Monday and inquired about his whereabouts. The North Korean authorities reportedly responded, saying, "It's a very serious charge we have against him. He's carrying illegal materials and we have made no decision as to what we will do with him." Karen says this was the last time the North Korean authorities could be reached by the Beijing-based tour company.
North Korea is widely regarded as the world's worst persecutor of Christians, with as many as 50,000 North Korean Christians believed to be imprisoned in concentration like camps around the country where starvation and arbitrary executions are common. A landmark United Nations report on Monday condemned North Korea for "crimes against humanity" and specifically noted that "severe punishments are inflicted on people caught practicing Christianity." In November, ICC reported that several Christians had been publicly executed in cities across North Korea for the "illegal possession of Bibles."
Referring to the tremendous amount of attention the case has been receiving after news broke of her husband's arrest earlier today, Karen told ICC, "It's been quite grueling. Nothing compared to what I imagine John is going through though. I'm being held up by the Lord's people in prayer. I really am. I'm so thankful."
In a separate interview with Reuters, Karen also said that John is unflinching about his Christian beliefs and had even read his Bible openly in front of North Korean officials on a previous trip to the country. "He won't be intimidated by the Communists," she said. "He's courageous. This is my husband's character."
Originally from Barmera in southern Australia, John moved to Hong Kong in 1964. He and his wife, Karen, raised three sons in Hong Kong while running a Christian bookstore called the Christian Book Room. John now joins Kenneth Bae, an American missionary detained in North Korea on Nov. 4th, 2012, as the second foreign missionary to be detained by the regime in recent years.
Ryan Morgan, International Christian Concern's Regional Manager for Southeast Asia, said, "I was terribly saddened to hear the news this morning that John had been taken into custody by the North Korean authorities. I had the great pleasure of meeting John and Karen last year in Hong Kong and got a very real sense of their genuine love for the people of China and North Korea. It is so rare to meet anyone who has dedicated more than 40 years of their life to bringing hope and healing to a people not their own. John, Karen, and their family will be in our constant prayers as we take every step possible to advocate for his release. We also take this time to remember the hundreds of thousands of Christians in North Korea who must practice their faith in absolute secrecy and for the thousands more facing unimaginable horrors while imprisoned by the regime in concentration camps."
For interviews, contact Ryan Morgan, Regional Manager for Southeast Asia: RM-SEAsia@persecution.org
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