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Concentration Camps Hold A Million People?

Nearly 40 ‘Detention’ Centers Reported In North Korea

ICC Note: Believing in Jesus Christ has landed tens of thousands in concentration camps as mere men are portrayed as gods.

9/27/07, North Korea (WorldNetDaily) – A Christian ministry is reporting that the number of North Koreans locked up in dozens of concentration camps could number more than a million, but few survive in an atmosphere reminiscent of Hitler’s death camps where guards reportedly stomp on the necks of babies born to prisoners and “scientists” experiment on living victims.

The report comes from Open Doors International, which is based in the Netherlands, and has been investigating and responding to reports of persecuted Christians since the 1950s.

Officials there told BosNewsLife, a Hungarian organization that focuses on news of persecuted Christians, Jews and other minorities under communist influences, that North Korea has built eight punishment camps for political prisoners and another 30 camps for other offenders who are subjected to forced labor.

In an earlier WND, a rare escapee from North Korea reported that dictator Kim Jong-il, and his late father, Kim Il Sung, both are portrayed throughout North Korea as gods.

The Christian, now living in South Korea, was identified only as Mr. Kim. He told Voice of the Martyrs most North Koreans believe the leaders are gods because that is how they are portrayed throughout society.

“All North Koreans really believe that Kim Il Sung is a god. He [hid] the bad things he had done, to preserve his godlike status to the people. I think 70 to 80 percent of what is said about Kim Il Sung is similar to the Bible,” he told the ministry.

The new report from Open Doors International, which was launched in 1955 when Dutch missionary Brother Andrew, author of “God’s Smuggler,” started smuggling Bibles behind the Iron Curtain, cited “Brother Simon,” who is the ministry’s North Korea director. He was not identified further because of security concerns.

“It’s possible that the number of prisoners are well over one million,” he said. “The camps are complete villages.”

Over the years accurate reports of persecution of Christians and others in North Korea have been difficult to obtain, simply for the reason so few people survive to tell any stories about the situation. Numerous reports previously have estimated that the number of Christians in concentration camps for no more than believing in Jesus Christ has ranged well into the tens of thousands.

Now the report by BosNewsLife Senior Correspondent Eric Leijenaar provides the higher estimates from Open Doors. “Brother Simon” declined to say how Open Doors conducted its investigation, citing concerns about the safety of those involved in the work.

“Many lives could be lost,” he said.

There had been earlier reports from defectors about the largest detention center, Camp 22, a site in the mountain town of Haengyong, where survivors have told stories of thousands of deaths each year and guards stomping on the necks of babies born to prisoners.

Witnesses also have been quoted in the British media about their experiences “watching entire families being put in glass chambers and gassed.” The die in agony while “scientists” take notes, the defectors have reported, according to the BosNewsLife report.

There also are stories, the report said, of experiments on living victims and sudden death all around.

The Observer newspaper has reported on the testimony from Soon Ok-lee, who was imprisoned for seven years, survived and escaped.

“An officer ordered me to select 50 healthy female prisoners,” she reported. “One of the guards handed me a basket full of soaked cabbage, told me not to eat it but to give it to the 50 women. I gave them out and heard a scream from those who had eaten them. They were all screaming and vomiting blood. All who ate the cabbage leaves started violently vomiting blood and screaming with pain. It was hell. In less than 20 minutes they were quite dead.”

Political opponents and critics of the government are among the victims, but many of them also are believed to be Christians, based on the communistic society’s philosophy of “total devotion” to the governmental leader. That belief was developed in North Korea by Kim Il Sung and followed closely by his son and successor, Kim Jong-il.

“Brother Simon, who has contacts with tens of thousands of Christians in North Korea through several networks, is convinced that despite the apparent dangers, at least 200,000 North Koreans are Christians ‘although that number may be even as high as half a million.’ One in four Christians in North Korea are believed to be in camps ‘where people usually do not survive,’ he said,” according to the news report.

Brother Simon added that in North Korea, is it “strictly forbidden” to be a Christian. “Who has a Bible could be sentenced to a punishment camp along with his whole family.”

Refugees who flee North Korea and then are returned by authorities, often from China, face years in jail. But if “authorities find out the refugee has contact with a Christian he or she may face torture and even execution,” Brother Simon said.

Open Doors, which provides aid to refugees, too, said there also is a very aggressive effort to prevent people from escaping.

“It’s very difficult to cross the river near the border. At the North Korean site [authorities built] dangerous pits with bamboo arrows,” he said. “There are also high fences with barbed wire while China has placed cameras and even promised rewards for those reporting refugees to authorities.”

“If there was one moment when North Korea needs prayer, it’s now,” he said.

Open Doors said it is running a three-year, round-the-clock prayer action for North Korea. It began Jan. 1, 2005 and about 3,000 Christians in the Netherlands and Belgium are participating.