It is well known that the North Korean regime has no tolerance for religion, but a recent report by the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) details how the Workers Party of Korea led by Kim Jong Un targets and tortures Christians and other people of faith while going to great lengths to conceal its crimes.
The report spells out the acts of terror committed by the regime “designed to remove all traces of Christianity” and reveals “the campaign to exterminate all Christian adherents and institutions…has been brutally effective.”
Sources: CBN News, The Voice of the Martyrs USA
North Korea’s secret police, the Ministry of State Security, are incentivised with promotions when they apprehend Christians and other believers.
“Those charged with Christianity often face execution or are forced to live out the rest of their lives in political prison camps,” testified Inje Hwang, an investigator with Korea Future Initiative, during a webinar hosted by USCIRF. Hwang interviews North Korean defectors who have experienced or have first-hand knowledge of abuse.
“One victim was arrested for the possession of a Bible was detained in solitary confinement and beaten with a metal rod used for cleaning rifles,” he recalled. Christians are the most persecuted because of the faith’s association with the US and Europe. Undercover government spies search for any evidence of worship making it impossible for Korean Christians to congregate without being reported.
“All the Christians that we interviewed for this report told us that they dared not practise their religion in front of any other people,” recalled Hwang.
Even children are taught from a young age to be suspicious of Christianity.
“In schools, young children are taught that Christian missionaries are spies of the countries who seek opportunities to invade North Korea and they’re shown graphic images of missionaries sucking the blood of children to show how malicious they are,” said Suyeon Yoo, co-director of Korea Future Initiative. “They are taken to state-run exhibition halls where religious adherents are presented as murderers, spies, and where Bibles are displayed as trophies taken from enemies of the state.”
The Gospel is still proclaimed in North Korea through various creative means, including shortwave radio and bold evangelists who risk their lives to smuggle Bibles and discipleship resources into the country. Despite the threat of persecution and heavy social pressure, Christians in North Korea hold firmly to their faith. Christian and secular analysts estimate that about 30,000 Christians are currently suffering in prison and labour camps.
Let us pray.
- Pray for Christian workers who smuggle Bibles and other Christian resources into North Korea. Pray too that VOM’s radio broadcast in the North Korean dialect will reach many with the Gospel.
- Uphold the Christians suffering in labour camps on account of their faith. Pray for endurance and that they will not lose heart. Pray these believers may be the light of Christ to others in the camp.
- Pray the Lord would bring true repentance, humility and a revelation of Christ to Kim Jong Un and others in authority.