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China expels Korean missionaries

SHENYANG (AsiaNews): Three provinces in northeastern China have expelled hundreds of South Korean religious personnel and closed down their Churches over the past 12 months.
The crackdown on religious activities came ahead of the new regulations on religious affairs that are slated to come into force on February 2 next year.
From late last year to the first half of this year, the provinces of Liaoning, Jilin and Heilongjiang have expelled about 1,000 South Korean pastors and missionaries, resulting in the disbandment of most of the local South Korean religious communities.
In Changchun, the capital of Jilin, all South Korean Churches were shut down at the start of October month.
Chinese authorities have offered no clear reasons for the measures taken against South Korean Churches. Between December 2016 and January 2017, at least 32 Protestant missionaries were deported to South Korea from northeast China, Yonhap News reported from Seoul.
They were involved in actively spreading the faith, as well as helping North Korean refugees face the dangerous trek across the Yalu River, which separates China from North Korea.
Because of their support for the North Korean deserters, some South Korean Christians were urged to return home to avoid forced repatriation.
The State Administration for Religious Affairs in China announced new regulations on religious activities last month.
Their aim is to crush underground Chinese Christian communities and stifle official ones, as well as prevent external missions. Strict conditions will also be placed on foreign religious personnel.

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