Missionary imprisoned in North Korea
A CHRISTIAN missionary has been sentenced to ten years hard labour after he was convicted by a North Korean court of espionage. The missionary, Kim Dong Chul, aged 62, was born in South Korea, but is a United States citizen. Before his arrest last year, he ran a business in an economic zone in Rason, while also serving as a missionary. In March, he admitted at a press conference to being an agent for South Korean intelligence, but this is believed to have been a forced confession. The last foreign missionary jailed by North Korea was Hyeon Soo Lim, a South Korean-born Canadian pastor, who was imprisoned in December last year (News, 18 December).
Heroes of anti-apartheid struggle honoured by Archbishop
THE Archbishop of Cape Town, the Most Revd Thabo Makgoba, has given two bishops and the first President of Zambia the Archbishop’s Award for Peace with Justice, in recognition of their battles for liberation in southern Africa. During the recent meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council in Lusaka, Zambia (News, 8 April), Archbishop Makgoba gave the former Bishop of Eastern Zambia, the Rt Revd John Osmers, the award, thanking the New Zealander for his many years of supporting anti-apartheid activists in Lesotho, Botswana, and then Zambia. He also visited Kenneth Kaunda, the first President of Zambia after independence, to give him the same award. Back in Cape Town, Archbishop Makgoba honoured the Archbishop-emeritus of Cape Town, Dr Desmond Tutu, and his wife, Leah, for their part in bringing an end to apartheid.
Chinese authorities reverse church-ownership decision
A CHURCH in Henan province, in China, where a woman was buried alive during a dispute over land, will be allowed to stay, after the local authorities changed their minds, and concluded that the church owned the plot. The pastor, Li Jiangong, was able to free himself after a bulldozer covered him with soil, but his wife, Ding Cuimei, suffocated and died (News, 22 April), China Aid reported. The charity also said that the demolition crew had been arrested, and a criminal investigation could follow.
Retired bishop berates Zimbabwean regime
THE former Bishop of Manicaland, in Zimbabwe, the Rt Revd Sebastian Bakare, has criticised President Mugabe’s regime for exploiting the people who live in the Marange diamond field. Bishop Bakare was speaking at the publication of a book that alleges that the authorities sent in soldiers to forcibly clear villagers of their ancestral lands to make way for widespread diamond mining. The story, Bishop Bakare said, shamed Zimbabwe. “Never, never again should we allow the power-hungry, shameless, and corrupt elite system that denies equal opportunities for all,” he said. President Mugabe recently announced that, despite ten years of diamond mining by Chinese firms, Zimbabwe had not made any money from the mines.