2 March, 2015 AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook            

Help AsiaNews | About us | P.I.M.E. | | RssNewsletter | Mobile





mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato
e-mail this to a friend printable version


» 12/28/2013
KOREA
North Korean Christians celebrate Christmas in secret underground tunnels
A refugee from Kim's regime says "there are secret places where the faithful, in groups of two or three, come together to perform religious functions." In the South, a Protestant church, led by Rev Chun, brought together the exiles for the birth of Jesus.

Seoul (AsiaNews) - Christians in North Korea "celebrated Christmas as others did around the world, but in underground tunnels that are hidden from the authorities. They risked their lives, and continue to risk their lives every time they pray. Although here in South Korea there are many churches, Christians in the South have no idea how fervent the prayers of those in the North are," said Han Min, a North Korean who fled Pyongyang's Stalinist regime. With the help of a Protestant Church, he was able to escape persecution and converted.

Han is a member of the Durihana Church in Seoul, which is run by Rev Chun Ki -won. For about 14 years, this community has been committed to helping those who want to leave the northern part of the peninsula.

According to his estimates, the congregation has helped about 1,000 North Koreans flee over this period of time. After escaping to China, they usually travel to Southeast Asia and then South Korea.

The clergyman is convinced that the aid his Church provides these desperate people "naturally" leads them to Christianity.

"In North Korea, a virtual cult is in place," he said. "Everything is focused on Kim Il-sung, the way a religious believer would focus on God. Exiles know this reality and so can easily adapt to the Christian system."

In one of the last totalitarian regimes in the world, some state-controlled churches exist, but "just for propaganda, to show the world that they have freedom of religion."

"I do not recognise these churches because their intentions are not sincere. But in North Korea, there are places that we could call churches but they are underground, places where two or three gather in secret, risking their life, to celebrate religious functions."

This Christmas, about hundred people celebrated the holy day together with Han Min in freedom, in Rev Chun's church.

 "This is a time when one should be with those one loves, especially one's family. For me, it would be enough to know if my family is still alive, since I have not heard from them for about 16 years."


e-mail this to a friend printable version

See also
09/06/2006 NORTH KOREA – SOUTH KOREA
North Korean military misappropriating humanitarian aid destined for the civilian population
12/10/2008 KOREA
Human rights denied: North Korean worker defects from Kaesong industrial complex
04/28/2008 KOREA – CHINA
Torch in North Korea for the first time
06/12/2006 NORTH KOREA - SOUTH KOREA - JAPAN
Pyongyang using an old mother to duck abduction accusations
by Pino Cazzaniga
12/02/2014 KOREA
Korea, giant Christmas Tree returns to border between North and South

Editor's choices
EGYPT - ISLAM
What Tayeb and Sisi said is big step towards a revolution in Islam
by Samir Khalil SamirThe grand imam of Al-Azhar slammed literalist interpretations of the Qur'an and the Sunnah, as fundamentalists and Islamic terrorists do. He supports the urgent need for Islam's reform, especially in terms of teaching lay people and clerics. He also calls for an end to mutual excommunication (takfir) between Sunnis and Shias. Egyptian President al-Sisi chose to fight the Islamic state group after it beheaded 21 Coptic Christians, whom he called "Egyptian citizens" with full rights.
SAUDI ARABIA - ISLAM
For head of Al-Azhar, religious education reform is needed to stop Islamic extremismFor Ahmed al-Tayeb, it is urgent to come up with new educational programmes to avoid "corrupt interpretations" of the Qur'an and Sunnah. Islamic terrorism undermines the unity of the Muslim world. He blames Mideast tensions on a "new global colonialism allied to world Zionism". a speech by the Saudi king is read at the conference.
HONG KONG - CHINA - VATICAN
It looks like someone is trying to shout us down
by Card. Joseph Zen Ze-kiunThe widespread optimism concerning the dialogue between the Holy See and China is largely groundless. Some Chinese bishops unable to speak freely are asked "leading" questions. The key issues remain unresolved, namely episcopal appointments and the fate of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association. Benedict XVI's Letter to Chinese Catholics, also cited by Pope Francis, provides guidelines. No agreement is better than a bad agreement. What happened to Msgr. Cosma Shi Enxiang and Msgr. James Su Zhimin? Hong Kong's bishop emeritus, champion of religious freedom in China, delivers a vibrant reflection.

Dossier

by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
Copyright © 2003 AsiaNews C.F. 00889190153 All rights reserved. Content on this site is made available for personal, non-commercial use only. You may not reproduce, republish, sell or otherwise distribute the content or any modified or altered versions of it without the express written permission of the editor. Photos on AsiaNews.it are largely taken from the internet and thus considered to be in the public domain. Anyone contrary to their publication need only contact the editorial office which will immediately proceed to remove the photos.