A Christian human rights group has called for prayer for a South Korean Christian humanitarian worker who was sentenced to a nine year jail sentence in early December for aiding a small group of North Korean refugees in defecting to South Korea. The Jubilee Campaign USA named the Christian as Reverend Choi, Bong-il. Rev. Choi was originally arrested on April 12, 2002, in Yanji, Jilin Province, and charged with the crime of organizing illegal border crossings for helping North Korean refugees attempt to defect to South Korea. “A trial was held for Rev. Choi on December 5, 2002. After the trial, the court did not render a verdict nor set a date on which the verdict would be delivered, yet Chinese authorities continued to detain Rev. Choi,” said the Jubilee spokesperson. “Twenty-eight months after Rev. Choi’s arrest, the court finally rendered the guilty verdict accompanied by the outrageous nine year sentence.
“Humanitarian workers help North Koreans in China by providing humanitarian relief and the means to travel to other countries such as South Korea. However, the Chinese government continues to imprison, torture, and convict these humanitarian workers simply for providing life sustaining aid to the North Koreans. “Please pray that Rev. Choi’s appeal will be timely heard by the court and that his nine year sentence will be either reduced or the guilty verdict will be overturned and he will be released. Please pray that God continue to give him spiritual and physical strength while he is in detention.”
There are a large number of people who think that Christians exaggerate persecution and/or they disserve it for interfering. Our Lord tells us to go forth to the ends of the earth as witnesses for him. We do. We are persecuted. While it may “come with the job,” we should not turn a blind eye. We should not forget it happens. We should work to prevent it.