Many governments persecute people of religious faith. However, one nation stands out: North Korea.
Before World War II missionaries were active throughout the peninsula and more than a fifth of the population was Christian.
Today, North Korea (DPRK) ostentatiously treats anyone of faith, but especially Christians, as hostile. Open Doors recently rated the DPRK number one for the 14th year in a row on the group’s “World Watch List.” Explained Open Doors: “Christianity is not only seen as ‘opium of the people’ as is normal for all communist states; it is also seen as deeply Western and despicable.
“Christians try to hide their faith as far as possible to avoid arrest and being sent to a labor camp. Thus, being Christian has to be a well-protected secret, even within families, and most parents refrain from introducing their children to the Christian faith in order to make sure that nothing slips their tongue when they are asked.”
Last year the British group Aid to the Church in Need published a persecution report which figured that some 50,000 Christians may currently be in the DPRK’s penal camps. The organization warned that the Kim Jong-un regime appeared to be tightening controls over potential dissent, including a vigorous crackdown on Christians. Aid reported that “Since 1953, at least 200,000 Christians have gone missing. If caught by the regime, unauthorized Christians face arrest torture or in some cases public execution.”
A special UN Commission of Inquiry pointed to the “almost complete denial of the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.” Believers “are prohibited from practicing their religion” and punished severely if disobedient. The ruling regime “considers the spread of Christianity a particularly severe threat.” Read more