Letter Campaign As Christian Spent 2000th Day In North Korean Jail

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

By Stefan J. Bos, Special Correspondent Worthy News

(Worthy News) - Christians have launched a global letter-writing campaign demanding the release of an ethnic Korean believer who spent his 2000th day in a prison inside North Korea. Jang Moon Seok, a deacon, was kidnapped by suspected North Korean agents in November 2014 from China, according to aid workers familiar with the situation. He is currently serving a 15–year prison sentence on charges that friends link to his involvement providing aid to North Koreans and evangelism.  

Authorities have accused him of "defaming" the regime, and an "attempt to incite subversion of state power," with his Christian activities, activists said. The Korean Chinese citizen had been working with Pastor Han Chung-Ryeol, who was assassinated in 2016, according to defectors. Han evangelized among at least 1,000 North Koreans in North Korea. The pastor also sheltered thousands of North Koreans over the years on the Chinese-North Korean border, many of whom fled the famine-stricken nation, according to Christians familiar with the situation.  

The Korea representative of aid group Voice of the Martyrs (VOM) suggested that Jang Moon Seok faces pressure to reveal more about Han's work and contacts. "We believe the reason for his kidnapping was to gather information about the North Korean ministry work we were doing with Pastor Han," said the VOM official, Hyun Sook Foley. 

Fifteen months after Deacon Jang's kidnapping and arrest, Pastor Han was reportedly lured from his home and stabbed to death in Changbai on the Chinese-North Korean border. Foley called Jang "a simple man who never did anything political. He just helped North Korean people for many years. That should never be a crime, and Christians should join together to help Deacon Jang and his family." 

She explained that VOM Korea had launched the letter campaign to the North Korean Ambassador to the United Nations, demanding Jang's release. She urged Christians to participate in the letter-writing by emailing North Korea's "DPRK Ambassador to the United Nations Kim Song at dpr.korea@verizon.net or sending a letter to him addressed in English."  Ambassador Kim Song (DPRK Permanent Mission to the United Nations, 820 2nd Ave RM 13b, NEW YORK N.Y. 10017) should be asked politely  "in a simple sentence to request Jang's return," she said. "Criticism and accusations would not be well-received."

Award-winning international journalist Stefan J. Bos is founder of BosNewsLife and also reports for other national and international media.