Zhang Wen Shei

Pastor Zhang Wen Shi

Charged with: ‘Defamation, spreading propaganda and false or misleading ideas, information, or materials. Subversion.’


Deacon Jang was abducted in China and taken across the border into North Korea, where he was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Deacon Jang’s ministry colleague Pastor Han Chung-Ryeol was stabbed to death in Changbai, reportedly by North Korean assassins who returned to North Korea after the murder.

As Deacon Jang passed his 2,000th day in prison, Voice of the Martyrs Korea launched a letter-writing campaign to the North Korean Ambassador to the United Nations calling for his release.

Still detained in prison.

Arrest and background

Fifteen years imprisonment

Zhang Wen Shi, also known by his Korean name and title as Deacon Jang, is an ethnically Korean-Chinese citizen who lived in Changbai, China, a town on the border with North Korea. He worked alongside Korean-Chinese pastor Han Chung-Ryeol, ministering to Koreans who crossed over to Changbai.

Though it is illegal to cross into China without permission, North Koreans often visit border towns to purchase goods for reselling back home, to seek medicine or other help and to conduct business. Near Changbai, they gather herbs on the Korean side of the mountain and sell them at the market in Changbai.

Jang regularly hosted these visiting North Koreans before they travelled home, giving them warm clothing, food and supplies for their return. He saw it as his Christian duty to welcome the stranger and, as a believer, shared about his faith to those willing to listen.

A number of these Koreans became Christians. Some returned to Jang’s home repeatedly for more Bible training, and he and Pastor Han taught them how to share their faith with their loved ones. Their goal was always to see North Koreans return home.

In November 2014 Jang was kidnapped from China and sentenced to 15 years in a North Korean prison. Fifteen months later, Pastor Han was lured from his home and stabbed to death in Changbai.

Since his imprisonment, a number of other prisoners have either encountered Deacon Jang in prison or heard a report about him.



  1. Pray that the Lord would be close to Deacon Jang and strengthen him (2 Timothy 4:17.)
  2. Pray that Deacon Jang would be released and returned to his home in China.
  3. Thank God for all the North Koreans who came to Christ through Deacon Jang’s ministry and pray for their protection and endurance.


Take Action:

You can write to the North Korean Ambassador to the UK on Zhang’s behalf and respectfully ask for his release. Please ensure that you follow our letter writing guidance detailed in Speak Out.

The mailing address is below:

Embassy of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
73 Gunnersbury Avenue
W5 4LP



February 2024