Koreans accuse religious cult of spreading coronavirus

This 2014 video is called Korean Cults – Shincheonji 신천지.

This blog paid attention to the South Korean Shincheonji religious cult before.

Their leader is 88-year-old Lee-Man-hee, about whom the organisation claims he is immortal and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

They are known for, eg, having a pseudo-peace movement. Allied to, eg, the Bahrain dictatorship, which, far from bringing peace, wages war on most of the Bahraini people who want democracy. And which stokes war in Syria and in Yemen.

Now, more Shincheonji news.

The entrance of the Shincheonji church in Daegu gets coronavirus decontamination, Associated Press photo

This Associated Press photo shows the entrance of the Shincheonji church in Daegu getting coronavirus decontamination.

Translated from Dutch NOS radio today:

Cult in the spotlight after South Korea’s coronavirus outbreak

In South Korea, all eyes are on a controversial church community. Because the number of detected coronavirus infections has more than doubled in the country in the last 24 hours, and most of it is associated with the Shincheonji church. That is an international Christian community, accused of being a cult.

229 new corona infections have been added since yesterday. This puts the total in South Korea at 433.

Nearly half of these have, according to the South Korean health authority, a direct relationship with the closed church community. But the authorities suspect that the share will increase even further. 9336 church members are kept in quarantine, more than 500 of them show symptoms.

President Moon Jae-in has called for a thorough investigation into the funeral of a prominent Shincheonji member. Because that three-day ceremony was held in the funeral parlor of Daenam Hospital in Chengdu – which is now one of two outbreak centers. Together with the nearby millions of inhabitants city of Daegu, where the church holds services.

“Also church in Wuhan”

Surprisingly, the group’s website is said to have said that a church was opened last year in Wuhan, the Chinese metropolis that is considered the center of the global outbreak. The independent Chinese news site Caixin Global writes that this information has been removed from the site. …

If it is true that there was a Shincheonji church in Wuhan, it provides an explanation of the cause of the South Korea outbreak. The health authority is investigating the ties between church members in South Korea and China. …

The church reports on social media that more than 100,000 ‘students’ have been trained. It also says that the movement has 300 centers in fifteen countries, including the Netherlands. …

Followers pray on the floor side by side on their knees. The South Korean health authorities suspect that this has contributed to the rapid spread of the coronavirus.

The religious movement has been controversial for years, eg, things because of the infiltration of other churches, critics say. “They infiltrate our churches and try to lure people into their Bible studies. When they sign up for it, it is not immediately said that the lesson is part of Shincheonji”, said a documentary maker from a Christian TV station in South Korea two years ago.

Many churches in South Korea are said to have a sign with “Shincheonji not welcome” at the door.

SOUTH KOREAN VIRUS CASES SURGE The number of coronavirus deaths has risen to 2,619 worldwide. There are more than 79,000 cases globally, and 27 deaths outside mainland China. South Korea announced 231 new cases today, with the nationwide total surging past 830. Over half of those are associated with a religious group. Iran’s health ministry has confirmed 43 cases of the virus, including eight deaths. Lebanon and Israel have also reported their first cases. [CNN]

Coronavirus cases outside China are alarming, global health officials say: here.

TRUMP ASSURES THAT CORONAVIRUS IS ‘UNDER CONTROL’ President Donald Trump tweeted that the coronavirus is “very much under control” in the U.S. and that the stock market looks “very good” — on the day the market plunged 3.5% over fears about the spread of the illness, its biggest drop in two years. The World Health Organization warned all nations to prepare for a pandemic of the virus, officially labeled COVID-19. [HuffPost]

Basketball and peace in Korea

This 5 July 2018 video says about itself:

North And South Korea Court Peace With Basketball Diplomacy In Pyongyang | NBC News [USA]

Two teams drawing on a mix of players from North and South Korea met in an exhibition game in Pyongyang.

From daily The Morning Star in Korea:

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

North and South Korea prepare for joint basketball games

DOZENS of South Korean basketball players arrived in North Korea’s capital today for a series of games the two Koreas hope will foster a spirit of detente generated by the recent North-South summit meetings.

The 50 players arrived in Pyongyang on two military aircraft.

South Korean Unification Minister Cho Myoung Gyon headed the delegation, which included 20 government officials and support staff and dozens of South Korean reporters.

North Korea’s Deputy Sports Minister Won Kil U led the North’s welcoming party.

The South Korean male and female basketball players are expected to play four matches with North Koreans tomorrow and Thursday. It was not clear whether North Korean leader Kim Jong Un would attend any of the games, but he did make a prominent appearance at a concert put on by South Korean musicians in Pyongyang earlier this year.

The exchanges are the latest result of a diplomatic outreach to the South that Kim announced during his annual New Year’s speech. That led to the North’s participation in the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in February and two summits with South Korean President Moon Jae In.

Kim has also had three summits with China’s leader and met US President Donald Trump last month in Singapore.

Cho, the South Korean unification minister, said he felt “deeply moved” upon arrival because he could sense the change in relations in the past few months.

Basketball diplomacy has something of a history in North Korea.

Basketball made international headlines from Pyongyang when former NBA player Dennis Rodman arranged a game there in 2014 for Kim’s birthday.

South Korea’s Hyundai company built a basketball stadium in Pyongyang during the “Sunshine Period” of engagement between the North and South and a joint game was played there in 2003.

Two rounds of inter-Korean basketball games were held before that, in 1999.

TWO KOREAS BEGIN MOVING LAND MINES Troops from North Korea and South Korea began removing some land mines along their heavily fortified border, as part of a pact to reduce tension. [Reuters]

South Korea announced last weekend that the UN Security Council had finally granted an exemption from sanctions for its plans to work with North Korea on a joint survey as the first step towards reconnecting rail and road links between the two Koreas severed during the Korean War of 1950–53. While the US did not use its veto in the UN Security Council to block its ally, the Trump administration is increasingly dissatisfied with moves by South Korean President Moon Jae-in to foster closer relations with North Korea prior to a deal on its denuclearisation. Washington effectively delayed the planned survey in August, and again last month, by declaring that it could violate UN sanctions: here.