For the Love of God
And now for something completely different…
A 75-year-old Australian man has apparently been “detained” in North Korea for allegedly distributing christian pamphlets.
The so-called “christian missionary” John Short was caught with the religious pamphlets which had been translated into Korean.
Mr Short entered North Korea on a tourist visa with another companion and was apparently taken to a derelict Buddhist temple where he attempted to leave the Christian literature behind.
Mr Short was arrested at his Pyongyang hotel on Sunday where a stash of christian propaganda was discovered.
His companion Wang Chong confirmed that Mr Short had left pamphlets promoting Christianity at the temple during a tour.
Mr Short’s actions are in breach of strict laws against spreading religious material.
Mr Short, from Barmers in South Australia, has been arrested multiple times while “evangelising” in mainland China, which he started visiting after the death of Mao Zedong in 1976, according to a biography on a christian website “Gospel Attract.”
He was banned from entering China for nearly two years after his second arrest in 1996.
Authorities later let him back in and he was arrested several more times for “speaking out about the brutality against Chinese Christians.’’
Short’s wife said he was visiting North Korea for the second time. His first trip was a year ago “so he knew what he was going into,’’ she said.
Presumably, being aware of the risks, he should now accept the consequences.
Mr Short could face a punishment of up to 15 years of hard labour.
Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has asked the Swedish Embassy in Pyongyang to confirm Short’s wellbeing and to seek more information.
Australia has no diplomatic representation in North Korea and is represented in Pyongyang by the Swedish Embassy. The North Korean government has not made any statements on the matter.