Prayer for North Korean Refugees: Safety and Terror in Life

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.

Prayer for North Korean Refugees: A Time of Danger

This week we ask for your prayers regarding the safety of North Korean refugees in China and the missionaries and field workers who care for them. Every so often China uses anniversaries and celebrations to make sweeps of border towns and round up North Koreans to strike fear in the refugee population and the people who help them. In show of force, Chinese authorities are sweeping the streets in the Yanbian Autonomous Prefecture in celebration of its 60th year of existence on September 3 of this year. This is one region where many North Korean refugees hide and where many aid workers are operate secretly.

In February we reported on our Twitter feed that 26 North Korean refugees were captured by the Chinese police, many of whom were sent back to North Korea’s brutal system of political concentration camps.

Today is also the 23rd anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protest and massacre. China is on high alert. A strange coincidence happened today as the Shanghai stock market index fell 64.89 points. That’s 6-4-89, the date of the massacre. This has created a cultural phenomenon in China in remembrance of the massacre. China has already blocked web searches for “Shanghai Stock Market,” according to reports by the Los Angeles Times.

Our eyes on the ground reported that Chinese policemen are patrolling the streets in greater numbers, two-by-two on every street in the Yanbian province.

The 26 refugees caught last year and the missionary who was shot, possibly killed, recently are tactics by the Chinese and North Korean authorities to terrorize the tens-of-thousands of North Korean refugees who are hiding and deter those who risk their lives to support them.

Please continue to pray for the safety of our staff workers and especially the North Korean refugees in our care.