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Wednesday, December 11th, 2013
New images obtained by human rights group Amnesty International show that North Korea's vast system of concentration camp style imprisonment is alive and well. As many as 200,000 political prisoners are believed to be held in the six camps, where they are forced into extremely difficult manual labor on starvation rations. Survivors report unimaginable horror stories from within the camps, were North Korean's can be sentenced to a life time of labor for something as simple as owning a Bible. In fact three generations of a single family can be sentenced to life for Bible ownership, or for practicing Christianity. An unknown number, probably in the tens of thousands, of the prison camp populations, are made up of Christians.
Tuesday, December 10th, 2013
As the world marks the 20th annual Human Rights day on Dec. 10, a Christian organization has renewed it's call once again for investigation into and action to halt the "crimes against humanity" being perpetrated against the North Korean people. Among the many crimes committed in North Korea is the relentless persecution of Christians, who are seen by the ruling regime as a threat to power. Tens of thousands of Christians are believed to be imprisoned in what can only be described as the closest thing to hell on earth, labor camps were starvation and disease run rampant and death is a constant companion. Christians have also been executed for the "crime" of possessing a Bible, most recently in November.
Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013
Few Christians, especially in the United States, have even a basic understanding of the extent to which Christians around the globe face discrimination, harassment, arrest, and death because of their faith in Christ. The following article, which first examines conditions for Christians living in North Korea, reveals fascinating and alarming statistics about the global breadth of anti-Christian activity. For instance, according to the Pew Forum, Christians faced harassment in 139 nations, or almost three quarters of all countries on earth, between 2006 and 2010. Another estimate is that 80 percent of all acts of religious discrimination in the world today are directed at Christians.
Sunday, December 1st, 2013
On Saturday the United States called on North Korea, the world's worst persecutor of the Christian faith, to release two American citizens, including one missionary, currently being held by the regime. The public call was made after news of another American citizen and a Korean war veteran, Merrill E. Newman, detained in North Korea back in October was made public. Newman joins Kenneth Bae, an active Christian missionary arrested last year, as a prisoner in what is largely considered the world's worst dictatorship. Although Mr. Newman was most likely detained for his participation in the 1950-1953 Korean War, religious beliefs can also be a cause behind arrest and even execution in the DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of North Korea). Earlier in November an unknown number of Christians were executed across the country for the "possession of Bibles."
Thursday, November 28th, 2013
For Christians living secretly in the world's darkest nation, simply remaining strong in the faith can be an incredible challenge. Making this all the harder is the requirement that all North Korean's essentially worship the deceased founder of the regime, Kim Il-sung. The following piece examines how Christians focus on worshiping God and do their best to avoid the idolatry that grips their nation.
Friday, November 22nd, 2013
A 50 year old Baptist evangelist as been captured and alleged for espionage by North Korea. From South Korea, Kim Jeong-Wook had worked on the North Korea/China border for years assisting North Korean refugees find shelter and food. When Kim discovered that some refugees had been discovered and arrested by North Korean authorities, he snuck into North Korea to see how he could help. Now that he is captured, the North Korean regime will likely deal with Kim harshly. Please pray for the wellbeing of this brave Christian brother.
Wednesday, November 20th, 2013
North Korea has been engaged in an aggressive effort to ferret-out and arrest Americans and Christian activists. It is believed by many that this may signal an effort by the Pyongyang regime to proceed additional "bargaining chips" prior to renewed negotiations with the United States and South Korea. North Korea now holds at least three Christian missionaries as prisoners, along with number ranging from hundreds to possibly thousands of Christian converts, in its infamous prisons.
Tuesday, November 19th, 2013
In a series of mass executions across North Koreans a handful of the country’s Christians were put to death for owning a Bible. The North Korean government strictly controls the information and ideology that its citizens have access to. The official religion of the state is of the Kim family of rulers and they harshly repress any competing ideologies. Despite the tradition of hostile oppression Christianity is on the rise according to some analysts, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to control the access of information, thus public executions are used to send a message of the danger of competing worldviews.
Thursday, November 14th, 2013
“We were shocked and horrified to hear about the recent mass executions under Kim Jong-un’s rule. At this point, there can be no doubt left that Kim Jong-un is bent on retaining absolute power, even if that means maintaining the genocidal legacy of his father and grandfather. Today we are praying not only for the families of those Christians who were executed on Nov. 3, but for the families of all of the victims of North Korea’s tyrannical regime. We also call on the world not to forget the tens of thousands who suffer daily in utterly deplorable conditions inside North Korea’s labor camps, many simply for their religious beliefs.”
Tuesday, November 12th, 2013
In the first known large scale executions under the still new regime of Kim Jong-un as many as 80 "criminals" were publicly killed by authorities across the country. Among those executed included individuals guilty of "possessing a Bible", said the South Korean newspaper that reported on the executions. According to the newspaper the executions took place in about eight different cities. In Wonsan, eight individuals were reportedly tied to stakes at a sports stadium and riddled with machine gun bullets as thousands were forced to watch. Family members of those executed were shipped off to prison camps, were conditions are atrocious and many die from malnutrition. North Korea is the world's worst persecutor of Christians. The possession of a Bible is illegal, and religious activity can be punished by death or the life imprisonment of three generations of the "criminals" family.
Friday, November 8th, 2013
North Korea's State Media agency announced this week that the regime had detained a South Korean spy in the capital of Pyongyang. The media announcement stated that the "spy" had disguised himself as a "religionist" and that he was attempting to "undermine the stability of the social system." South Korea immediately denied the individual was an agent, leaving many concerned that the man is actually an underground Christian missionary. Christianity is completely repressed in North Korea, and North Koreans can face life imprisonment and even execution for "crimes" as simple as distributing Bibles or telling others about their faith.
Monday, November 4th, 2013
International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that Christian missionary Kenneth Bae recently became the longest known American detainee in North Korea since the end of the Korean War. Mr. Bae marked one year in detention yesterday, after being arrested by North Korean authorities in the port city of Rajin on Nov. 3, 2012. According to the National Committee on North Korea, the Communist dictatorship has not held any known U.S. citizen longer than 12 months since a cease-fire between South and North Korea was signed in 1953.
Wednesday, October 30th, 2013
Despite living in perhaps the darkest nation on earth and facing life imprisonment or death for their beliefs, North Korean Christians are reportedly praying actively for the church in the United States. The report below encourages Americans to join with their persecuted brothers and sisters in America to pray strength in the midst of hardship.
Monday, October 28th, 2013
Nearly two weeks after the conclusion of a visit by his mother, Kenneth Bae remains locked up in North Korea. A U.S. citizen and dedicated missionary, Kenneth was detained by North Korean officials late last year and sentenced in May to 15 years of hard labor for allegedly attempting "hostile acts" and trying to overthrow the authoritarian regime. Kenneth's mother, Myunghee Bae, pleaded with officials to release her son and apologized on behalf of the family for any wrong he may have committed. In North Korea, Christianity is completely repressed. The ownership of a Bible is punishable by life in prison for the owner and up to three generations of the owners family.
Monday, October 14th, 2013
A Christian named Kenneth Bae has been held in prison in North Korea for the past 11 months. Since August he has been held in a hospital due to his terrible health conditions. He was finally allowed to see his mother over the weekend and the two wept as they embraced. The short 90-minute meeting, though likely encouraging, did in no way guarantee his release.
Friday, October 11th, 2013
Reports from the family of American Kenneth Bae have said that his mother is scheduled to meet with him on Friday, October 11, 2013. Kenneth has been sentenced to a 15 year prison sentence in North Korea. The visit of Kenneth’s mom comes after pictures from this summer indicated the suffering he was going through and the deterioration of his health since his arrest in November 2012.
Wednesday, October 9th, 2013
This week several prominent defectors from North Korea will be testifying in front of the UK parliament on the horrors of life inside the "Hermit Kingdom." Their stories of incredible loss and escape from the world's darkest nation have helped the UN Human Rights Council for the first time establish a record of the atrocities still being committed today by the Communist dictatorship. Although this report does not mention it, North Korea is also the worlds number one persecutor of Christians. To own a Bible is illegal and we know of at least one individual in recent years who was executed for distributing Bibles. Thousands of Christians worship in complete secrecy and thousands more are imprisoned in some of the most horrific conditions on earth.
Monday, October 7th, 2013
House Resolution 1771, or the North Korea Sanctions Enforcement Act of 2013, directs the president to "investigate credible information" of "sanctionable activities" and then to possibly apply sanctions on individuals or organizations in North Korea that commit a list of offenses. Perhaps most important on the list is "committing or facilitating" a serious human rights abuse. In other words the President of the United States could decide to impose sanctions upon organizations or individuals in North Korea that participate in the mass persecution of Christians. North Korea is believed to have as many as 70,000 Christians locked up in labor camps around the country. Owning a Bible is illegal and punishable by life in prison or even summary execution.
Thursday, October 3rd, 2013
John L. Allen Jr is author of The Global War on Christians: Dispatches from the Front Lines of Anti-Christian Persecution. In this contribution to The Spectator magazine, Allen poignantly described the atrocities and discrimination visited upon Christians across the world, and the lack of journalistic interest in telling those stories.
Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013
The following article by CNN's Paula Hancock details the devastatingly tragic ordeal of nine young defectors, aged 15-23, who were sent back to North Korea earlier this year after traveling thousands of miles in an attempt to find freedom. The defectors were aided by South Korean missionaries who are reportedly devastated by the loss. After years of harrowing ordeals and escapes, the group had made it to Laos, only to be separated by Lao authorities and sent back to North Korea. They nine young defectors have been paraded by State controlled television and many fear that once there case is forgotten they will either be shipped off to labor camps or executed. North Korea is the worlds number one persecutor of Christians, with tens of thousands of Christians currently believed to be locked up in six labor camps around the country.
Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013
In yet another bizarre twist to the story of imprisoned American missionary Kenneth Bae, Dennis Rodman, a former basketball star, has arrived for a second visit to North Korea only days after an official American envoy sent to the country to ask for Kenneth's release was rejected by Pyongyang. Rodman has stated that his trip has nothing to do with helping to free Kenneth, who was sentenced to 15-years of hard labor in April for allegedly trying to overthrow the North Korean regime. Open Doors USA estimates that as many as 70,000 Christians may currently be locked up in the six massive prison camps around North Korea where political prisoners are held.
Monday, September 2nd, 2013
On Friday U.S. Special Envoy Robert King was supposed to by in North Korea negotiating for the release of Kenneth Bae, an American citizen and missionary arrested back in November of 2012. Kenneth was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor in April and is reportedly suffering from severe health issues, losing more than 50 pounds and being admitted to the hospital in July. North Korea rescinded its invitation to the U.S. Special Envoy for reasons that are still unclear, no doubt crushing the hopes of Kenneth's family who have been appealing for the U.S. government to intervene on Kenneth's behalf for months.
Saturday, August 31st, 2013
While the facts surrounding this story are highly uncertain, it appears that an ex-girlfriend of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was recently executed by firing squad along with several others. A South Korean news source, The Chosun Ilbo, reported on the incident on Thursday, saying that singer Hyon Song-wol and members of the Unhasu orchestra were arrested on August 17th and executed three days later. Others were reportedly forced to watch the execution before being imprisoned in labor camps. Hyon Song-wol and others in the group were accused of creating and possessing pornography, though it was also reported that Bibles were discovered during their arrest. Possession of a Bible remains completely illegal in North Korea and can lead to life imprisonment.
Friday, August 30th, 2013
Kenneth Bae, an American citizens and devout Christian, has been under lock and key in the world's most oppressive nation for nearly 9 months. Since being sentenced to 15-years of hard labor in April for allegedly trying to "overthrow" the state, Kenneth has lost 50 pounds and been hospitalized. Today a special envoy of the United States is in North Korea seeking Kenneth's release on humanitarian grounds. The North Korean leadership views Christianity as a threat to its power and something as simply as having a Bible can result in a lifetime of imprisonment in hellish conditions.
Wednesday, August 28th, 2013
Kenneth Bae, reportedly a devout Christian, active missionary, and American citizen, was detained in North Korea in November of last year and charged with "hostile acts" against the North Korean regime. Kenneth, who led official tours into the country, may have been involved in missionary work, which is strictly prohibited in North Korea. In April he was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor and has subsequently seen his health decline rapidly. It was recently reported that Kenneth has lost 50 pounds since his incarceration and had been hospitalized. Calls for his release by the U.S. State Department on humanitarian grounds have been ignored. Now the State Department is sending a Special Envoy to try and secure Kenneth's release.
Thursday, August 22nd, 2013
Kenneth Bae, a devout Christian and missionary, was detained in North Korea late last year. He was subsequently convicted of "hostile actions" against the state and sentenced to 15 years of hard labor. The North Korean regime sees Christianity as a threat to its rule and the ideology of "Juche", which demands that the population embrace their leader as a sort of demigod. As many as 70,000 Christians are estimated to be imprisoned in concentration camps around the country. Calls for Kenneth's release on humanitarian grounds by the U.S. State Department have been ignored.
Tuesday, August 13th, 2013
North Korea is widely regarded as the world's worst persecutor of the Christian faith. On a recent trip to the country the president of Vision Beyond Borders, Patrick Klein, reported facing "spiritual oppression" unlike anything he had encountered before. He shares one particularly horrific story where children were tricked by teachers into finding their parents Bibles and bringing them to school. The children's parents were subsequently imprisoned in labor camps and the children sent to state orphanages. Owning a Bible is illegal in North Korea, as is practicing or sharing the Christian faith in any way.
Monday, August 12th, 2013
The drama surrounding the imprisonment of Christian missionary Kenneth Bae in North Korea continued to unfold last weekend as his sister revealed Kenneth has been hospitalized. She said Kenneth is suffering from several issues, including an enlarged heart and chronic diabetes, which have been exacerbated by his imprisonment and forced labor. Kenneth was arrested back in November of 2012 and sentenced to 15 years of hard labor in May for allegedly planning "hostile" actions against the state. At the time of his arrest Kenneth was leading legal guided tours into North Korea but may have been involved assisting orphans in the country as well. Practicing Christianity in North Korea is completely banned and something as simple as distributing Bibles can lead to life imprisonment for you and your entire family.
Sunday, August 4th, 2013
Kenneth Bae, an American citizen, was arrested by North Korean authorities back in November of 2012 for allegedly committing "hostile acts" against the North Korean state. Kenneth was leading legal tours into the country but may have been also actively involved as a missionary. He was sentenced this year to 15 years of hard labor and in a recent appeal through his family mentioned that his health is deteriorating. North Korea is the world's worst persecutor of Christians and it is believed that tens of thousands of Christians remain locked up in prison camps around the country.
Thursday, August 1st, 2013
Kenneth Bae, an American citizen and Christian missionary, has been detained in North Korea since November of 2012. He was sentenced in May to 15 years of hard labor on trumped up charges for committing "hostile acts" against the North Korean regime. In North Korea practicing the Christian faith openly is practically impossible and those found with Bibles or other religious material can face life imprisonment. As many as 70,000 Christians are believed to be imprisoned in one of six labor camps around North Korea.