Ruled by Communist totalitarian dictator Kim Jong Il's iron fist, religious freedom and human rights are non-existent in North Korea. North Korea prides itself in an ideology centered on self-reliance called Juche. Juche principles, described as a cult of personality, were established by North Korea's founder, Kim Il-Sung, and became the country's official creed when it was adopted by the new constitution in 1972.
North Korea has long been difficult to obtain reliable information from, especially regarding the Christian population. It remains the most closed country to date in the modern world. However, information that does leave North Korea?s borders presents a very severe state of persecution. Reports indicate that many Christians are in labor camps; some estimates are as high as 200,000 imprisoned.
North Korea has a few “official” churches; however, these are strictly limited to the capital of Pyongyang –all existing church buildings are actually no more than showcase structures for visiting dignitaries and NGOs. Outside of these, religious practice is forbidden except Juche, which directs religious worship toward Kim Jong Il and his late father, Kim Il Sung.
Government: In 2009, the North Korean government took new steps to combat religious activity, and halted cross-border support from Chinese Christians. The government set up false prayer meetings and infiltrated underground churches as new tactics to entrap Christian converts. The government is also known to frequently search suspected locations of Christian gatherings, and to regularly seek out and dispose of underground believers in an effort to completely annihilate all Christians within its borders. Captured Christians faced severe methods of torture, including being used as guinea pigs for chemical weapons.