Many have died and countless have been injured in North Korea.
Ethnic Korean missionaries based in China’s northeastern border with North Korea engage themselves in one of the most dangerous jobs in the world – they spread Christianity across the border in North Korea. The conditions on the ground are appalling. A minimum of 10 pastors and other associated missionaries have been found dead in recent years. All of them died in mysterious circumstances. It is widely suspected that North Korea is responsible for the killings.
North Korea equates the Christian religion with Western imperialism and the United States. Korean missionaries persist in proselytizing as they believe the converts could topple the government. Those who become successful at fleeing North Korea are welcomed as refugees. Hiding places are also offered. All the missionaries ask in return is to memorize Christian prayers. They are also invited to share what they have learned if they elect to go back to North Korea.
The missionaries are of various nationalities. Most of them are South Koreans and the rest Chinese of ethnic North Korean descent. The work is dangerous for both of them. As per Reverend Kim Kyou Ho, missionary deaths are frequent. Reverend Ho heads the Seoul headquartered Chosen People Network. The latter is a Christian group which administers a memorial hall for the victims.
Their work can be lethal. Li Baiguang, who defended farmers and Christian pastors in his role as human rights lawyer, had been at the receiving end of multiple death threats and died last February. He was admitted to the hospital only a few hours prior to his death for what has been described as a minor stomach ailment. His death drew outcry. The Washington headquartered National Endowment for Democracy and Amnesty International have requested an independent investigation into the death. They noted that Li had been physically attacked multiple times and frequently detained for the work he has done. They point out that he had good health before his hospitalization. People like him are spied upon by both North Korean and Chinese intelligence.