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Shincheonji-phobia and the Coronavirus in South Korea

Monday, March 2, 2020  
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The rapid proliferation of the coronavirus (COVID-19) has resulted in 13 deaths and 1,766 confirmed cases in South Korea as of February 27th. Shincheonji Church so far has nearly 500 members confirmed positive to the virus and as a result has become the target discrimination and defamation. Several media outlets in South Korea have spread inaccurate and unfounded pseudo reports not from a source at Shincheonji but instead from sources backed by organizations who have had hostilities towards Shinchonji.

Here are the facts:
Back on Feb. 19, South Korean President Moon Jae-In stated that a full survey and diagnosis of Shincheonji members were necessary. On Feb. 25, Shincheonji Church handed a list of 210,000 members to health authorities with the condition of protecting their identities. On Feb. 26, health authorities began telephone surveys and tests for those who had symptoms.

Chosun Ilbo, a major newspaper in South Korea, reported that 5 people with pneumonia were found positive at the virus test by the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters before any Shincheonji member was involved. The medical community noted that the COVID-19 cases had already proliferated before the infection of members of Shincheonji Church.

Shincheonji Church, recognized across the world in 2019 for their graduation of 100,000 students in a free bible seminar, Zion Mission Center has since been provocative in Korean society, mostly because its rapid growth in the past decade. Shincheonji’s members exceeded 200,000 in 2018 and the peaceful religious group that teaches the bible in free seminars across the world is on track to exceed half a million graduates this year, many under the age of 30. Members who’ve come from various religions are said to lead a peaceful life of faith directly in line with the bible’s teachings.

When one of its members died during a deprogramming, Shincheonji reacted with protest gatherings attended by more than 120,000 Korean citizens in January 2018 and demanded punishment on the criminal activities. The annual 2019 International Religious Freedom Report by the U.S. Department of State mentioned the incidents. However, the Korean government did not act to stop the inhuman deprogramming practice.

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Contact

Ali Jua
contact@shincheonji.us
(805) 704-1296


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