Human rights pastor almost detained in Beijing

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Human rights pastor almost detained in Beijing


Suh Kyung-suk

A South Korean pastor was detained for several hours by Chinese police in Beijing Capital International Airport on Monday night because of his track record of fighting for human rights, according to the South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Pastor Suh Kyung-suk, an activist for North Korean human rights at the Christian Council of Korea, was traveling from Seoul with 31 other Korean pastors on a study tour headed for Frankfurt and other destinations in Europe. The group was transferring flights at the Beijing Airport when they were stopped by Chinese police around 8 p.m., according to the ministry. The group’s flight to Frankfurt was scheduled to depart at 1:20 a.m.

After checking the pastors’ identification, Suh was called inside an office by Chinese police, which he protested.

A diplomat from the South Korean consulate in Beijing rushed to the airport at around 9:30 p.m. The official also protested the treatment the pastor was given.

Suh was not in restraints and was free to talk on the phone, the Foreign Ministry said. The group was allowed to board the flight to Frankfurt.

Joy of Sharing, the Christian relief group that Suh represents, said the pastor was singled out by Chinese police because of his history of fighting for North Korean human rights as well as supporting Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo.

The group of 32 pastors will be tour 14 cities in nine European countries, including France, Rome and the Czech Republic, until June 25.

Suh staged demonstrations in Europe in 2008 and 2009 to raise awareness of North Korean human rights violations. The pastor plans to stage rallies on this trip in front of EU and United Nations offices, as well as Chinese embassies.

By Christine Kim []

한글 관련 기사 [중앙일보]

서경석 2시간 길 막은 중국 공안

류샤오보 구명운동 관련
베이징공항서 동행 요구

북한인권단체연합회 공동대표인 서경석(사진) 목사가 13일 자정 무렵 중국 베이징공항에서 공안과 언쟁을 벌이면서 2시간 가량 발이 묶였던 것으로 확인됐다. 정부 당국자는 14일 “서 목사가 독일 프랑크푸르트로 가기 위해 베이징공항을 경유할 당시 중국 공안이 신원을 확인하겠다며 사무실로 동행할 것을 요구했다”며 “서 목사가 이에 불응해 항의하며 2시간가량 양측 간에 승강이가 벌어졌다”고 말했다. 이 당국자는 “외교통상부는 이 소식을 접하고 중국 외교부와 영사 관계자에게 전화로 항의했고, 서 목사는 정시에 프랑크푸르트행 비행기를 타고 베이징공항을 떠났다”고 설명했다.

기독교 구호단체 ‘나눔과 기쁨’에 따르면 서 목사는 다른 목사 31명과 함께 ‘유럽사회와 기독교 역사 탐방’을 주제로 9개국 14개 도시의 유럽 순례길에 올랐다. 당시 현장에 있었던 서 목사 측 관계자는 “공안은 ‘서 목사가 북한 인권운동을 해온 데다 중국의 노벨 평화상 수상자인 류샤오보(劉曉波·유효파) 구명운동을 했다’며 동행을 요구했다”고 전했다.

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