Wednesday, April 26, 2006

North Korean "saviors" in Time Magazine

The second-most influential entertainer in the world is not the only Korea-related topic in Time Magazine this week.

The magazine focuses on
the efforts by certain Christian groups to rescue North Korean refugees.

In other
religion-related news, a group of South Korean Roman Catholics left for North Korea today, the first such official delegation to visit the religion-suppressing country. South Korean's newly appointed second cardinal, Nicholas Chŏng Chinsuk, is interested in rebuilding the Catholic Church in communist North Korea and having a priest installed there. Chŏng also heads the Roman Catholic diocese in the capital of North Korea, a mostly a symbolic title since there are no officially practicing Catholic priests in the country.

The sixty-one-member delegation from the Archdiocese of Seoul will stay in North Korea until Saturday, inspecting how the more than $10 million it has sent to North Korea for humanitarian aid has been used.

South Korea estimates there are about 3,000 Catholics in North Korea and about 12,000 Protestants, while in the South there are about 4.5 million Catholics.

Refugees from North Korea have repeatedly told human rights groups that some people who tried to practice their religion were thrown into prison camps along with their families then tortured and, in some cases, executed. Among them is
Son Jong-nam, whose story is tragic—and all too typical. While noble, the efforts to pressure Pyongyang to stay this man's execution were probably inefficacious.

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