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Nightmare Inside North Korea

4/1/09 North Korea (ANS) During the past month North Korea has caught the attention of the world with its threats leading up to the controversial launching of a long-range rocket, which it tentatively plans to carry out in the next few days. The United States and its allies, including South Korea, have warned North Korea that a test launch could have major consequences.

According to a recent Open Doors report from the field, a warlike buildup by the government is a nightmare for most North Korean citizens. Officials have ordered citizens to gather 15 days worth of war provisions. Even young students are being forced to transport ammunition boxes.

Stressing that it was a favor from the “great leader,” North Koreans received a special ration of corn and rice in honor of Kim Jong Il’s birthday on February 16. But the lives of these residents are getting worse. The crisis in the world’s economy has reached North Korea. The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. A small number of the governing class are purchasing foreign goods from China. Their houses are full of rare, expensive goods from overseas, according to the report. Meanwhile, people are dying from starvation.

Increased Surveillance of Christians

North Korean church leaders have started a prayer campaign for evangelization inside North Korea, according to the Open Doors report. The North Korean society is extremely unstable. Believers see this as an opportunity to develop and reinforce their church organization. They are becoming more united, even though the situation for believers has worsened. North Korean authorities have stepped up their measures for exposing all underground church members by increasing surveillance of Christians and making house searches even more severe. Open Doors’ World Watch List has ranked North Korea as the No. 1 persecutor of Christians for seven years in a row. Last week North Korea was re-designated by the U.S. State Department as one of eight “Countries of Particular Concern” for their severe religious freedom violations.

North Korean believers are asking the church in the West to support them and keep them in special prayer because of their difficult situation. They are also spending additional time in prayer for each other. They are sensing that the day of opening of North Korea is near. They are actively getting ready for the changes the North Korean churches will face in the future, according to the report.

Participate in NKFW

One way you can support the persecuted Christians in North Korea is participating in North Korea Freedom Week (NKFW) April 26-May 2. It is sponsored by the North Korea Freedom Coalition (NKFC), which consists of approximately 60 organizations, including Open Doors USA.

NKFW is devoted to raising awareness of the plight of North Koreans and the massive human rights and religious rights abuses by the government. Through a series of events – including rallies, lobbying lawmakers, Congressional hearings and a prayer vigil – organizers want to alert the public of North Korea’s critical needs and draw attention to Kim Jong Il’s criminal activities which perpetuate the problems in North Korea.

Included in the events, focused in Washington, D.C., is a Capitol Hill Rally for North Korea Freedom and Human Rights at noon on Tuesday, April 28 and lobbying of members of Congress after the rally. At noon, Saturday, May 2, there will be a protest against China’s violent treatment of North Korean refugees. It will be held at the new Chinese Embassy at 2133 Wisconsin NW.

The schedule, prayer helps and information on how you can get involved will be available starting April 6 at the Open Doors Website at www.OpenDoorsUSA.org. More information is also available at the North Korea Freedom Coalition Website at www.nkfreedom.org. NKFC is a bipartisan coalition of 60 religious, human rights, non-governmental organizations and individuals from the U.S., North and South Korea, Japan and other nations whose primary purpose is to bring freedom to the North Korean people and to ensure that the human rights component of U.S. and world policy towards North Korea receives priority attention.