» 03/03/2014, 00.00
Pyongyang frees Australian missionary John Short: humanitarian act following confession
The missionary, 75, was arrested on February 16 for handing out religious material. Two other missionaries, Kenneth Bae and Kim Jeong- wook, still in the hands of the regime.
Seoul ( AsiaNews) - North Korean authorities this
morning released 75 year old Australian missionary John Short, arrested on
February 16 on charges of "illegally distributing religious material". Short,
who has lived for decades in Hong Kong with his wife, arrived a little while
ago at Beijing airport. He
said he was "very, very tired," and added that for now, he "intends
only to rest". Pyongyang
released him "in consideration of his age" and "in light of the
fact that he confessed his crimes and apologized. This is a generous decision".
regime's official KCNA press statement reads: "John Short committed a criminal act by secretly spreading his Bible
tracts around a Buddhist temple in Pyongyang. He admitted that his activities
were criminal acts hurting the Korean people's absolute trust in their leader,
violating the independent right of North Korea.
He earnestly requested the forgiveness. North Korea decided to expel him
from the territory, thanks to the tolerance of the law and in full
consideration of his age".
there are still two other Protestant missionaries in the hands of the regime
led by Kim Jong-un: American
Kenneth Bae, sentenced in May 2013 to 15 years in prison for " hostile
acts against the nation" and South
Korean Kim Jeong- wook, arrested in October 2013, who disappeared
altogether until February 27, when he appeared at a press conference to "admit
his crimes" and ask for "forgiveness of the State". Pyongyang
has rejected the request for his release made by the Seoul Government, but
has not yet announced whether he will be prosecuted for such crimes.
North Korean constitution guarantees religious freedom on paper, but in fact it
does not exist in the country. The only form of religiosity permitted by the
government is the cult of personality of the dictator and his ancestors: Kim
Il-sung and Kim Jong-il are revered semi- deities, and the incumbent leader Kim
Jong-un their direct descendant. In Pyongyang there are three churches - two
Protestant and one Catholic - but they are considered a facade for tourists and
non-governmental organizations. There are no resident priests or religious, but
only officials of the associations established by the government to control the
Pyongyang: Christian missionary from South "confesses his crimes" on TV
Kim Jeong -wook was arrested last October on the border with China and had since disappeared into thin air. During a press conference he admitted his "crimes" and pleaded for the "mercy” of the Stalinist authorities. Australian missionary John Short and the American Kenneth Bae still in the hands of the regime.
19/02/2014 NORTH KOREA - HONG KONG
Christian missionary arrested in Pyongyang for distributing "religious material"
John Short, a 75-year-old Australian, has lived in Hong Kong for about 50 years. His wife does not know "where he is and what he has been charged with". However, he "is not reckless," but simply "cares for people that live in such difficult circumstances."
Brother of Fr Tentorio’s murderer still at large
Robert Ato is under the protection of a local politician Arakan Valley (Mindanao). His brother Jimmy is the alleged murderer is in jail, but has not yet confessed. For the PIME regional superior no local missionary knows the two suspects.
Pyongyang arrests "accomplices" of South Korean missionary: they risk being shot
The Stalinist regime interns "tens of people" in a labor camp for political prisoners, guilty of having helped Kim Jeong- wook, a Christian missionary accused of “spying”, who illegally entered the country. Exiles from the North: "They will be shot. Or, if things go well, they will end locked up in the state camps”
Beijing, journalist Gao Yu sentenced to seven years for defending human rights
The woman is very famous in the country and in the international community, for her sharp criticism of the political system and Chinese leaders. Convicted of "divulging state secrets", she will appeal. Her brother: "After a year of detention I hardly recognize her. Today she is 71, how can she manage seven years in jail? ". 44 journalists in Chinese prisons.
HONG KONG – CHINA – VATICAN
On “Hong Kong sectors” supposedly "against Francis"
John Mok Chit Wai
A scholar at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, who collaborates with AsiaNews, responds to accusations against the agency and people in Hong Kong with respect to criticism of the Vatican’s diplomatic approach towards China. Religious freedom is a fundamental human right and a universal value, whether in China, Russia or the Middle East. Between "Right" and "Left", China defines itself as left, yet it practices state capitalism and unfettered capitalism just as "right-wing governments" do. Gaudium et Spes calls on the faithful to engage in politics against the "arbitrary domination by [. . .] a political party,” like in China.
The "enemies" of Pope Francis
The charge made against AsiaNews that we are against the Pope and in favor of Putin, is an opportunity to outline what motivates our commitment to evangelization. And also to ask for greater professionalism from those who write about the Pope. The Pope does not need public defenders. Facilitating dialogue between "conservatives" and "progressives" to realize the Council and concern ourselves with the world so that it encounters Jesus Christ. Christ’s “enemies” were also his "friends."
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