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.

orSubscribeor
More from Her.menutics
What Do I Get If I’m Good?

What Do I Get If I’m Good?

Raising moral kids in a culture of rewards.
Duck Dynasty Wife: The More Christians on Reality TV, the Better

Duck Dynasty Wife: The More Christians on Reality TV, the Better

How unexpected fame and quirky family has helped Jessica Robertson share her faith.
Dealing with ‘Gender Disappointment’

Dealing with ‘Gender Disappointment’

In the age of girl power, many of us want daughters. Here's why I’m happy either way.
Parented by Grandparents

Parented by Grandparents

The challenges of caretaking in middle age present new opportunities for outreach.
Include results from Christianity Today
Browse Archives:

So Hot Right Now

What Happens When We See Women Teach the Bible

A figure like Beth Moore shows evangelical women what’s possible.

What We're Reading

CT eBooks and Bible Studies

Christianity Today
Journalists Slammed for Covering N. Korean Women's Hell