Jump directly to the content

Journalists Slammed for Covering N. Korean Women's Hell

Jun 10 2009
Laura Ling and Euna Lee were sentenced to 12 years of hard labor for reporting on women who are 'sold like livestock' in China.

On Monday, journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee were sentenced to 12 years of hard labor in a North Korean prison. This morning, Blaine Harden in The Washington Post shares the probable reason: they were researching an article on the plight of women who, fleeing famine and poverty in North Korea, crossed the border into China. (You may have to create an account to read the Post article, but the account is free and takes only a minute to set up.)

Many of these refugee women ended up "being sold like livestock in China," according to one refugee who was sold in marriage to three men, sent back to North Korea, permanently maimed from a police beating, and then sent to a labor camp that she characterized as "hell on earth."

Actually, says a South Korean human-rights researcher, most of the women are much better off in China than they were in North Korea. If they stay with the men who buy them, they are given adequate food and housing. However, they and most of their children have no legal status. Without residency papers, the women can be deported at any moment - back to North Korea, where they will be treated as criminals. Their undocumented children, who will remain with their Chinese fathers, may not be able to go to school.

Tina Lambert, advocacy director of Christian Solidarity Worldwide, a U.K.-based human-rights group, called upon North Korea to "rescind this unjust sentence and to grant Laura Ling and Euna Lee's immediate release …. We urge the United Nations to boldly condemn and extensively investigate these concerns at all levels of its system, including the Security Council, as a matter of utmost importance."

Google "Christianity and women's rights" and you'll find plenty of evidence for the church's relative shortcomings in this area. But note that North Korea and China are both officially atheistic countries. When I get impatient with the church's slowness in treating women and men equally, I'll remind myself of that.

Meanwhile, let's all pray for Ms. Ling and Ms. Lee.

To add a comment you need to be a registered user or Christianity Today subscriber.

More from Her.menutics
Neither Fully Widow Nor Fully Wife

Neither Fully Widow Nor Fully Wife

Alzheimer’s puts caregivers in painful in-betweens.
The Epic Jesus Follower Fail

The Epic Jesus Follower Fail

The cringe-worthy subplot of Holy Week underscores the truth of the gospel.
How Female Farmers Could Solve the Hunger Crisis

How Female Farmers Could Solve the Hunger Crisis

Fighting gender inequity in global farming.
Lent Isn't Just About You

Lent Isn't Just About You

Why one Catholic writer went on a mission to do more than self-improve.
Include results from Christianity Today
Browse Archives:

So Hot Right Now

Raised in a Christian Cult

‘Girl at the End of the World’ adds to an important line of ex-fundamentalist survivor stories.

What We're Reading

CT eBooks and Bible Studies