If the accusations are to be believed, China is busy rooting out and expelling South Korean Christians from the country, in part because of a suspicion they are keeping North Korean defectors.
Hundreds of South Korean Christians, including church leaders, have been expelled from north-eastern China within the past year, BosNewsLife has learned.
The actions by several provincial governments are part of a fresh crackdown on Christians and other religious groups near China’s border with North Korea, according to Christians familiar with the situation.
About a thousand South Korean pastors and missionaries are estimated to work in northeast China. Advocacy group Voice Of the Martyrs Korea (VOM) told BosNewsLife that the departure of many Christian workers has caused “numerous church closures and abandoned communities”.
In 2017, the first known troubles for missionaries in the area emerged in January when some 32 South Korean Christians were reportedly forced to leave Yanji region in Jilin Province, near the border of autocratically-ruled North Korea.
“By early October, there were no remaining South Korean churches in Changchun, the capital of Jilin Province,” added VOM, which has close contact with local Christians.
The Chinese government has declined to comment, but Christians said the three provinces involved – Liaoning, Jilin, and Heilongjiang – border North Korea.
Local Chinese officials suspect that some of the expelled South Koreans and other pastors were helping North Korean defectors, said Eric Foley, the chief executive officer of VOM Korea, adding that the outcome was “not surprising”.
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