North Korean refugees in China live in terror everyday. The bombing in Boston has reminded us in the first world that none of us are truly safe, no matter where we live. Acts of terror such as these are intended to scare us from living our everyday life. We get on a plane and we think twice. The next time we participate in or attend a marathon, we will think of Boston.
This terror is relative compared to what others go through on a daily basis. When we think of Syria or Gaza, our daily level of terror is put into perspective.
North Korean refugees in China are under constant pressure of being discovered by their neighbors, police officers or cameras, which seem to have sprouted up on every major street corner in Northeast China.
In 2009 we visited a small village in Northeast China where the police had come a month earlier to round up refugees and send them back to North Korea. The North Korean refugees lucky enough to escape were horrified. They didn’t want to stay in their homes where the police could come again in an attempt to round up refugees. But they also did not want to leave their homes where they might be caught.
“Can you please help me leave the country and go to South Korea?” one terrified woman asked us.
In 2011 China arrested and deported about 28 refugees and put the entire community in horror. The North Korean population is estimated to be around 100,000. Yonhap news reported in 2012 that a few of these refugees were publicly executed.
As we pray this week, let us remember the fear North Korean refugees face everyday. The psychological and emotional damage is stifling. Please pray that they would, through workers like our own in China, receive the peace and comfort of Christ.