North Korea arrests citizen on spying charges for communicating with Christians in China

A resident of North Korea has been arrested on spying charges for communicating with Christians during a visit to his relatives in China, according to local sources.

(KCNA / via REUTERS)North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un watches a military drill marking the 85th anniversary of the establishment of the Korean People's Army.

On June 3, North Korean authorities arrested 61-year-old Kim Seung-mo of Wiyon in the city of Hyesan, when he came home from his trip to China. A local source who spoke under condition of anonymity told Radio Free Asia how state security officials dragged the old man at the Wiyon train station.

"It happened on the third day following his return from visiting relatives in China ... I witnessed him being dragged by state security officials in front of Wiyon train station," the source told RFA. "There were about 3,000 people getting ready for the 'military march to Mount Paektu,' who were about to depart for Samjiyon county in celebration of the 80th anniversary of the victorious Battle of Pochonbo."

In addition, the source said the officials shackled Kim and used a rope to tie him up as he was being dragged along. The old man reportedly sustained split lips, black eyes, and a leg injury as a result of the violent arrest.

On June 6, another source from Yanggang came forward and told RFA that Kim told his neighbors that his relatives in China's Jilin province attended a Christian church. The man also mentioned that the pastor there asked the congregation to give him used clothes, as his wife sells these items on the black market.

The source said someone must have relayed his story to security agents, noting that all North Koreans who come back from China have to report their activities to authorities. Kim was arrested because he did not tell authorities about his relatives' church affiliation and the other things that happened there.

The North Korean regime is hostile toward Christians because it does not want anything to surpass one's loyalty to the government. For this reason, believers in the reclusive state are forced to conceal their faith; otherwise, they will be arrested and sent to labor camps.

Despite the situation, a North Korean defector named Kim Chung-seong who is now a missionary said the Christian faith continues to grow in North Korea. During the annual World Summit in Defense of Persecuted Christians held at Washington, D.C., he said the regime is afraid that the Gospel will spread throughout the country, The Christian Post relayed.

The missionary added that the North Korean regime was doing everything to inhibit the spread of the Christian Gospel, but doing so was like blocking the sunlight using one's hand. He then called on Christians all over the world to pray that their counterparts in North Korea will be able to enjoy religious freedom.