North Korea Kills Two Christians
ICC Note: In a very rare release of new information about Christians in the totalitarian state of North Korea, Open Doors has confirmed that two Christians were recently killed by the regime. Both individuals were North Koreans who has escaped the country but decided to voluntarily return to spread the gospel. One was caught and imprisoned in one of the countries notorious prison camps before he died, the other was trying to leave the country to obtain Biblical training when he was shot by border guards.
01/21/2013 North Korea (MNN) - There are reports of spies following people in China and targeting those Christians who help North Koreans. Similar reports indicate new converts being tracked from China back into North Korea and dealt with. Sadly, the reports released on January 18 confirmed that story once again. "Our co-workers just today have reported to us that they have definite confirmation on the deaths of two Christians in North Korea at the hands of the government."
Ironically, both had escaped North Korea and gone to China. "North Koreans go to China to find help, most often just to improve their physical situation, their living conditions, etc. Many of them find Jesus and become followers of Jesus, and they want to go back."
According to the ministry that serves persecuted Christians worldwide, one Christian died in one of North Korea's notorious labor camps. Estabrooks explains, "In the first case, this man went back voluntarily and began to share his faith quite extensively within the country. Ultimately, he was informed on, arrested, and put in prison." Open Doors contacts followed the case to the labor camps, where--under a regime of hard labor, little food, and torture--he died.
Estabrooks goes on, "The second situation, which we've learned today, was a Christian going back to China for Bible training and was killed by a border guard as he tried to cross the river.
"He was very excited about his new faith and wanted to share the Gospel with his family," says an Open Doors worker. "He wanted to come back to China to study the Bible more so he could explain the Christian faith better to his family. It is heartbreaking that he was killed. I cannot stop thinking: 'If only he had arrived a little later at the border river, the guard would not have seen and shot him. He could still be alive today.'"
Open Doors has confirmed both deaths through several sources, which cannot be mentioned for security reasons. When asked if the penalties for sharing their faith act as deterrents, Estabrooks responded, "When Christians go back to North Korea, they become the greatest communicators of the Gospel that you can have. I mean, these are human beings whose lives have been changed and whose outlook on life has changed dramatically, and they want to share it with others. So the Gospel still goes forward in this land."
North Korea has been No. 1 on Open Doors' World Watch List for the past 11 years. Nowhere else in the world is the persecution of Christians so intense. Even the possession of a Bible is enough to be killed or sent to a labor camp for life with your family.
The 200,000 to 400,000 Christians in North Korea have to profess their faith in secret. Approximately 50,000 to 70,000 Christians live, work, and ultimately die in one of the horrible concentration camps.