GWACHEON, KOREA, November 24, 2020 /24-7PressRelease/ — Shincheonji Church of Jesus, a well-known religious group in South Korea, has recently gained worldwide attention as a driving force behind record-breaking convalescent plasma donation drives. The church is currently participating in their third plasma drive of the year, largely made possible by the nearly 5,000 Shincheonji members that have recovered from COVID-19. From the first two donation drives alone, over 1,700 Shincheonji members out of 2,030 total donors (80%) have donated convalescent plasma. Some members are even donating more than once. The third plasma drive, taking place over 3 weeks starting November 16th, has been expected to gather 4,000 Shincheonji members who pledged to donate. The Korean government has expressed their gratitude for the group’s cooperation. The Deputy Director of the Center Disaster and Safety Countermeasure Headquarters in Korea stated, “We are grateful for the active participation of Shincheonji, and for the cooperation of the City of Daegu and the Korean Red Cross.” The donation drive is held over a span of three weeks as the medical personnel and equipment cannot support an influx of 4,000 patients at one time. Members of Shincheonji church are also reported to repeatedly decline receiving travel and time compensation from the donation drive to save taxpayer money.

Before the donation drive, Shincheonji Church hosted an international virtual prayer meeting on November 15th, in which the church invited members of all other religions and denominations to join them in praying for an end of the COVID-19 pandemic. The prayer meeting gathered 352 guest participants from 29 different religions in 73 different countries, as well as thousands of Shincheonji members. One spokesman of Shincheonji church said, “The intention is to pray together for rapid development of the treatment and the end of COVID-19 ahead of the third group plasma donation involving 4,000 cured saints. We will do everything we can with a responsible attitude until the end of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

These events were hosted by the religious group in the wake of receiving persecution, not only for the church itself but also its members. In early February, a Shincheonji location in Daegu experienced an outbreak of COVID-19 cases after an asymptomatic and unknowing virus-carrying church member attended a worship service. The outbreak caused Shincheonji members to be labeled “super-spreaders” of the virus and since February the church reported over 5,500 human rights violations against its members. Despite immediately halting all in-person meetings, the leader and Chairman of Shincheonji, Man Hee Lee, was arrested on August 1st for not cooperating with governmental authorities and submitting false member lists to officials. Shincheonji claims that it has fully cooperated with the authorities and did not submit false lists despite the accusations.

Chairman Lee was released from Suwon Detention Center on November 12th on bail. Shortly after his release, the Chairman planned to administer an online written test to all members of the church. The approximately 300,000 Shincheonji members took the test on November 22nd, which was based on events in the Bible and the biblical doctrines of Shincheonji.

Shincheonji’s third plasma donation drive is being held from November 16th to December 4th in a Daegu indoor athletic center.

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