September 24, 2021

-Christianity Daily


The North Korean regime’s refusal to tolerate religion has long impacted the lives of Christians who live in the communist state, forcing them to go underground and hide their faith lest they be subjected to intense persecution.

A recent report from the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) reveals how the Workers Party of Korea led by Kim Jong Un continues to target and torture Christians and other faithful while trying its best to cover up its crimes.

According to CBN News, the new USCIRF report recounts the acts of terror commuted by the North Korean regime that is “designed to remove all traces of Christianity” and details how “the campaign to exterminate all Christian adherents and institutions…has been brutally effective.”

According to the report, the Ministry of State Security, which is North Korea’s secret police, are incentivized to apprehend Christians and other believers because they are promised promotions by the authorities.

As for victims of Christian persecution in North Korea, they suffer a very different fate. Inje Hwang, an investigator with Korea Future Initiative, said during a webinar hosted by the USCIRF, “Those charged with Christianity often face execution or are forced to live out the rest of their lives in political prison camps.”

Hwang’s work involves interviewing North Korean defectors who have experienced or are knowledgeable about the kind of abuse victims of Christian persecution experience in North Korea. He recalled, “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.”

In North Korea, Christians are targeted the most for persecution because of the faith’s ties to the U.S. and Europe. The government goes as far as enlisting undercover spies to search for evidence of worship, making it rather impossible for Christians in North Korea to gather without being reported to the authorities. Hwang said, “All the Christians that we interviewed for this report told us that they dared not practice their religion in front of any other people.”

According to Faithwire, even children are subjected to anti-Christian propaganda by the government of North Korea. Korea Future Initiative co-director Suyeon Yoo reported that young children in schools are taught that “Christian missionaries are spies of the countries who seek opportunities to invade North Korea” and are even shown “graphic images of missionaries sucking the blood of children to show how malicious they are.”

Suyeon said that children are also 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.”

According to experts, world leaders can do something about the Christian persecution going on in North Korea today. Some experts believe that targeted sanctions can be an effective way for the North Korean government to ease up on Christian persecution because “Kim Jong Un cares what the world thinks of his regime.” Evidence of this is demonstrated by “show churches” that were set up by the North Korean government to show the world that they are “tolerant” of other faiths.

Korea Future Initiative chief strategy officer James Burt posited that North Korea feels deeply about its image, which is why “they respond so aggressively to human rights council resolutions that condemn their human rights record” and why “they push back so hard against human rights sanctions.”