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N.Korea arrests Christian missionary from Australia

By Gerry Mullany / New York Times

LAST UPDATED: 08:29 p.m. HST, Feb 19, 2014

HONG KONG » North Korea has arrested a Christian missionary from Australia, his family said Wednesday, taking him into captivity even as it continues to face pressure to release an American missionary it has held for more than a year.

The Australian, John Short, 75, was arrested in the capital, Pyongyang, on Sunday, according to his wife, Karen. She said the trip was her husband's second to North Korea. He had religious materials that had been translated into Korean, according to a statement by his family.

John Short's detention comes more than a year after North Korea arrested Kenneth Bae, an American missionary, after he entered the country from China. Bae was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor for committing "hostile acts" against the North, and Pyongyang has repeatedly resisted strong U.S. pressure to release him.

In an interview with Reuters, Karen Short said her husband had been open with North Korean officials about his faith and even read his Bible in front of government guides during his first trip there.

"He won't be intimidated by the Communists," she said.

North Korea was faulted this week in a sharply critical U.N. report for, among other things, its intolerance of religious freedom. The report cited the North's practice of "extermination," murder, enslavement, torture, rape and persecution on grounds of race, religion and gender.

John Short has been repeatedly arrested in China after doing evangelical work there and "speaking out about brutality against Chinese Christians" in the country, according to a biography of him posted on a Christian website called Gospel Attract. His work in China began after the death of Mao Zedong in 1976, the biography said.

A native of Barmera in southern Australia, John Short came to Hong Kong in 1964, later focusing on missionary work with refugees from mainland China who had fled the Cultural Revolution. He raised three sons there with his wife, with whom he runs a Christian bookstore called the Christian Book Room.

In an interview with That's Online, a website devoted to Chinese affairs, Karen Short said Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs told her that her husband's situation was "a different and difficult case." Australia has limited diplomatic relations with North Korea.

"We're Christians, and we've been here for 40 years," she said of Hong Kong. "He's a front-line man — this is what he does. But North Korea is very different — that's why his heart was to go there. I'm asking people to pray for him."

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sailfish1 wrote:
He can now work alongside of Bae and keep him company. Only fools go to places like North Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt, Syria, and all the other distressed countries.
on February 19,2014 | 06:40PM
CriticalReader wrote:
All countries of the world really have to begin taking some responsibility for this and do the right thing. At each dock, airprort, and border crossing, there should be a sign, that says in whatever the appropriate language is: DO NOT GO TO NORTH KOREA! YOU MIGHT GET PUT INTO A PRISON CAMP!
on February 19,2014 | 07:04PM
50skane wrote:
What one precisely guided tatical nuke tomahawk missile could do!!!!! Poof!! No more Kim Jong-Un and his sadistic cronies!!! Come on Obama do the right thing!
on February 19,2014 | 08:34PM
SteveToo wrote:
No pity for anyone dumb enough to go to N. Korea. He can rot there for all I care.
on February 19,2014 | 08:38PM
jmarie wrote:
Yes finally somebody who gets it. You want to ride around on your high horse singing " Yippie-ki-yea" don't cry when a little yobo throws you into prison!
on February 20,2014 | 07:04AM
HD36 wrote:
Thre role of our new government is to bring democratic reforms in countries that don't have the freeedom of religion. Conquring N. Korea would be a strong axis point agaisnt China having Japan and S. Korea on our side. When all else fails, they take you to war.
on February 19,2014 | 08:55PM
LMO wrote:
We invaded Iraq for less reason than we have about N Korea. Get rid of this family of crooks and kooks, already. Time for a Regime Change, don't you think? Before they decide to test their nukes on someone.
on February 20,2014 | 02:12AM
bpet wrote:
I don't understand why these "missionaries" insist upon going into countries where it is not safe, they are not welcome and they are in danger of being imprisoned, tortured and/or executed. . .where the primary religion of the country (where allowed) is definitely not Christianity. It is time we 'Christians' quit interfering with the faith of others and start looking to renewing and fortifying the faith from within.
on February 20,2014 | 02:13AM
Dimbulb wrote:
The people that go to North Korea are idiots.
on February 20,2014 | 04:14AM
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