Christians sent to jail for helping North Korean refugees

By September 7, 2009

China (MNN) — Normally, giving humanitarian aid is
applauded. But for Christians
Li Mingshun and Zhang Yonghu, it resulted in a ten-year prison sentence.

ChinaAid
reports that at the end of July, Li and Zhang were indicted for aiding North
Korean refugees fleeing to South Korea through China. Officials found Li guilty
of "human smuggling across the border." Zhang received a seven-year sentence
for organizing transportation for the refugees to Inner Mongolia. Li's family
is reportedly submitting an appeal for the two missionaries' release.

"I am
shocked at how the Chinese government treats its own humanitarian workers,"
said President of ChinaAid, Xiqiu "Bob" Fu. "They are innocent! We
must urge the international community to voice their concerns for the
persecuted North Korean refugees and the humanitarian workers who serve them in
their time of need."

North Korean refugees living in China face ongoing
persecution. The government continually denies them refugee status, and the
cost of returning to their home country is high. Refugees face charges of
treason which are punishable by death, detention, and/or lifelong imprisonment
in labor camps. Women and children often disappear from formal record, sold
into the void of human trafficking. Many Chinese and Korean Christians, like Li and Zhang, work
with underground networks to aid these refugees as they seek freedom from
persecution.

Lawyers
working with Li and Zhang hope this case will raise awareness of the
persecution against North Korean refugees. Ask fellow Christians to pray with
you for this situation; pray that Li and Zhang will soon be released.

For more
information or to read more about ChinaAid's ministry, you can click here to
visit their Web site
.

Leave a Reply