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John Pavelka
John Pavelka
World News

Christians demand release of deacon imprisoned in North Korea for evangelism

by Heather Preston

A campaign has been launched calling for the release of a deacon who has been imprisoned in North Korea for sharing the Gospel.

Korean-Chinese Christian Zhang Wen Shi, also known as Deacon Jang Jang Moon Seok, was kidnapped in China in 2014 and sentenced to 15 years in prison in North Korea for sharing his faith.

Together with Korean-Chinese pastor Han Chung-Ryeol, Jang ministered to North Koreans who crossed the border into the Chinese town of Changbai to sell goods. He would host families on their visits, giving them food and supplies and tell them about Jesus.

Jang is now serving a prison sentence for defaming the regime, attempting to incite subversion of state power and providing aid and the Gospel to North Koreans, according to the US group International Christian Concern.

Christian persecution group The Voice of the Martyrs in Korea has launched a global letter-writing campaign urging for his release.

A statement on the organisation's website says: "We urge you to write to the North Korean Ambassador to the United Nations on his (Deacon Jang's) behalf and respectfully ask for his release, using his Chinese name. Our field workers in the region advise that you keep the letter brief and limit the request to the following: We request the return of Zhang Wen Shi to China."

North Korea is number one on the Open Doors World Watch list, which ranks the countries where Christians experience the most extreme persecution for their faith. All Christian literature including the Bible is illegal there and those who are discovered to be practising the Christian faith are either sent to labour camps or killed.

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