02/10/2019 China (International Christian Concern) – China’s crackdown on Christianity is not just toward Chinese Christians, the North Korean defectors who live in the northeast of China and the missionaries who help them also are victims of such religious oppression. Things especially started to deteriorate after China enacted revised religious regulations last year.
A source in China close to North Korean affairs told Daily NK News, “A lot of churches in China closed down following restrictions enacted last February. The Chinese authorities have been coming after both authorized and unauthorized churches, which has in turn undermined the defector rescue work carried out by missionaries.”
Traditionally, North Korean defectors who crossed the border to seek refuge in China have depended on South Korean missionaries and churches in China to protect and bring them to South Korea.
Another missionary in China also told Daily NK, “The Chinese authorities shut down a church in Dandong back in September and all the affiliated missionaries were deported. This left the defectors they had been helping without support.”
While his organization has not yet had any issues with the Chinese authorities, another missionary shared that they had nevertheless “significantly curtailed their activities due to the current climate.”
“Humanitarian work transcends religion doesn’t it? Shouldn’t we be able to work with the Chinese government in that respect?” he said.
Beijing has a twofold purpose on clamping down these church groups. First is to diminish Christianity and its social impact. Second is to not jeopardize its relations with North Korea, which the state has close ties with.