“70,000 Christians have been imprisoned in camps along with those believers from other religions.”
Christians are the most persecuted group in Communist North Korea, a recent U.S. State Department report says. Out of the country’s estimated 400,00 Christians, some 70,000 are in prison or labor camps for their religious beliefs, the report shows.
Men, women, and children—even infants—in North Korea face execution or long prison sentences for merely being caught with a Bible. “A two-year-old North Korean was sentenced to life in prison after officials found a Bible in the toddler’s parents’ possession, as the totalitarian regime continued to ‘execute’ and ‘torture’ religious worshippers,” the New York Post reported Sunday.
Christianity, with its universal message of salvation, is a threat to the North Korean communist regime, which decrees the state-organized worship of its dead founder Kim Il Sung, and absolute loyalty to his subsequent bloodline. The socialist necrocracy still regards Kim Il Sung—dead since 1994—its “Eternal Leader.” The country is run by his grandson Kim Jong Un, the self-styled “Supreme Leader.”
The Hong Kong newspaper South China Morning Post reported:
The report from the (U.S.) State Department’s Office of International Religious Freedom, citing research conducted by non-governmental organisations which have gathered testimony from defectors, says as many as 70,000 Christians have been imprisoned in camps along with those believers from other religions.
One NGO, Open Doors USA, has reported that for Christians in North Korea, life is a “constant cauldron of pressure” and “capture or death is only a mistake away”.
As State highlights in its report, North Korean government documents state that “freedom of religion is allowed and provided by the State law within the limit necessary for securing social order, health, social security, morality and other human rights.”
Anything beyond that can land citizens in deep trouble.
Christians are considered a “hostile class” in the songbun system, in which people derive status from loyalty to the state and its leadership. Christians, ODUSA reported, are regarded as the lowest in society and are constantly “vulnerable and in danger.”
The Department of State, pulling from information collected by NGOs, noted that an entire family, including their two-year-old child, was imprisoned following the discovery of their religious practices and possession of a Bible.
The family, which was most likely targeted by the Ministry of State Security that handles roughly 90 per cent of these cases, was sentenced to life in prison.
A report from the NGO Korea Future documented a shocking incident in which a man caught praying was nearly beaten to death by guards. Another incident involved a Korean Worker’s Party member who was found with a Bible, taken by authorities out to an airfield, and executed before a crowd of thousands. (…)
ODUSA has reported that Christian materials, including Bibles, are leftovers from the early 20th century up to World War II and are passed among believers. Though there have been reports of underground churches, it is unclear if these are active given that, as one defector said, “meeting other Christians to worship is almost impossible.” Some even fear being reported by their own family members.
Christians trying to escape persecution have to undertake an arduous 3000-mile long trek, running from North Korea to Thailand. This Christian ‘underground railroad’ is operated with the support of a Chinese and South Korean “informal network of brokers, charities, and middlemen,” Reuters reported in 2019.
Communist China’s attempt to corrupt the Gospel
China, the Communist neighbors next door, is perhaps the world’s biggest persecutor of Christians. According to a report published by the faith-based NGO Global Christian Relief, “China contains the world’s largest persecuted church.”
Unable to eradicate Christianity, the regime is trying to corrupt the Gospel. The Christian “churches are now under great pressure to praise the thought of President Xi, and express an ideologically biased version of the Gospel that lauds the legitimacy and achievements of the Communist party,” the Global Christian Relief says. “Christian leaders who refuse to parrot the government line can expect length[y] terms of imprisonment,” the NGO added.
Despite repression, Christianity—largely through the underground churches—is making inroads in the country. China has approximately 100 million Christians, roughly 7 percent of its total population, the Wall Street Journal estimated in 2019.DONATE
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