North Korea is often called a “rogue state” in the media. The media largely attribute the label to the country’s habit of inciting international controversy, lately including its recent military clashes with South Korea and its nuclear program. Unfortunately, these issues usually overshadow the atrocities that Kim Jong-Il and the North Korean government visit upon their own people.
While researching for our upcoming newsletter that will be dedicated to persecution in North Korea, I have run across numerous reports of the horrors that occur in North Korea. In a recent report released by Amnesty International, I discovered that the prison camp system in North Korea, which is easily comparable to the concentration camps of Nazi Germany, currently holds an estimated 200,000 inmates and is growing large enough to be seen from satellites in space. At left, you can see an overhead photograph of Yodok Prison Camp.
Political dissidents, religious minorities, and individuals communicating with others outside North Korea are thrown into these camps, often for life, along with three generations of their family in order to completely wipe out all forms of political or religious disagreement. In another report, I read about a man who was thrown into one of these camps for sitting on a newspaper that had Kim Jong-Il’s picture on the front.
Prisoners in these camps are often worked to exhaustion, mining coal, harvesting trees and manufacturing goods for export while being given starvation inducing portions of food. Torture and executions are common in the prison camps. One ex-guard reports that he was awarded for killing five prisoners who were attempting to escape. Perversely, the idea to escape was the guard’s, who used the prisoners as a way to get awarded an education at a state political college.
The most tragic part of this is that most people I talk to have never heard about these atrocities. Many are aware that North Korea is a “rogue state” and that its leader, Kim Jong-Il, is a dictator; but most are unaware of the severity of the repression that is exacted upon the North Korean people.
Please take some time to remember the people of North Korea in your prayers. Pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ there who have to worship behind closed doors, risking everything to follow Jesus.