In light of the recent arrest of an American citizen — another Southern Californian evangelical — in North Korea for missionary activities, the following proposal seemed appropriate for consideration:
Assuming that North Korea remains sovereign, Christian refugee organizations might do well to devise a ten or twenty year strategy for solving the refugee problem with the active cooperation of the Chinese atheists as opposed to promoting regime collapse in Pyongyang and operating outside of the law. It’s a question of goals: if you want media attention, throw Bibles (or yourself) across the Tumen River and get deported. If you want to convince the Chinese government to honor the right against refoulement of North Korean refugees, dig in your heels for the long haul and help change Chinese society with the rest of us.
On the other hand, there is the status quo: go on the Daily Show to raise awareness and raise a new generation of recruits who treat the Tumen River like the antebellum Ohio and conceive of themselves as a new generation of abolitionists, and hold principled and creative protests in Seoul, while assuming that China remains the picture of implacable totalitarianism (or angry mob-rule nationalism), totally unable to mold its own debate about North Korean refugees.